In order to curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus in Nimba and other parts of Liberia, the Nimba County Ebola Response Task Force has erected a checkpoint at the St. John River before entering Nimba from Bong County.
Nimba Superintendent Fong Zuagele told the Daily Observer that the newly erected checkpoint will strictly be for testing going in and out of Nimba County.
“Anyone entering Nimba or leaving Nimba will be tested at this checkpoint to ascertain their temperature before leaving and if the temperature is higher then that person will be taken to the holding center at the United Methodist Center for an Ebola test,” he said.
“We have a drum of water for hands washing; so we ask everybody to comply with security so we can make Liberia free of Ebola”, he asserted.
At present, the County Task Force has three ambulances; one will be transporting those who are showing signs to the holder while the others will be taking positive cases to the center in Monrovia.
Thirteen security officers, including six police officers, five BIN officers, two port health officers and a DEA agent have been trained to carefully man the checkpoint and ensure that all travelers go through temperature testing before passing through the checkpoint.
Even though the outbreak of Ebola in Nimba is not as high as compared to other places in Liberia, yet it is reported that at least five persons have died from Ebola since the outbreak, with 13 persons in Nimba showing signs and symptoms.
Supt. Zuagele urged the security at the checkpoint to be fair and honest in the discharge of their duties so as to avoid the further spread of Ebola.
“Let’s help stop the spread this deadly Ebola virus by doing exactly what you were trained to do,” he admonished the joint security personnel at checkpoint.
“This checkpoint is not created to check driver’s licenses, drugs or to extort money from anyone. It is strictly here for the Ebola,” he warned.
Prior to the erecting of the Ebola Checkpoint, the assigned officers went under a mini workshop where they were ttaught about the various signs and symptoms of Ebola.
They were told to consider all signs and symptoms while testing the temperature of a person.
Dr. Lorene Cooper of Sanniquellie, the facilitator of the workshop, warned the officers not give in to any pressure under the pretext that someone is seriously sick and so they were rushing that person to the hospital.
“The car should be stopped, and the person’s condition checked and if the person was bleeding, vomiting and toileting, s/he should be detained and the MOH team contacted at once so as to take him/her to the holding center,” she said.
“Be polite with those whom you are interacting with. Do not rush on any unexplained dead body. Contact Ministry of Health immediately.
The Nimba Task Force received a special thermometer called “thermoflah” from the iron ore mining giant, Arcelor Mittal. It can be used without it touching the body. It is in form of pistol and uses a high quality dry cell finger size battery.
The security will be checking for anyone whose temperature is over 37.5c and if anyone’s temperature drops, he or she should be allowed to go; but if it is above the given degree, the person shouldn’t be allow to leave.
“Put your country first and do not take any money from anyone at this checkpoint because the person wants to go or you know the person,” Dr. Lorene Cooper said.
“Work as a team and be very straight and do not touch anyone,” she emphasized.
The Nimba Police commander has promised that his men will not be involved in anything else besides what they were told to do to stop the spread of Ebola. The officers will make sure that no vehicle carry two persons in the front or four persons in back seat, in case of a taxi.
“In exercise of our duty to combat Ebola, we’ll make sure that no taxi carries more than four and no motorcycle carry more one person at the back,” he said.
Meanwhile, Supt. Zuagele has informed this newspaper that similar checkpoint was slated to be erected at the boundary with Grand Gedeh on Tuesday 12th August 2014.