Traditional chiefs in Liberia have vowed to curtail their age old practices which are among the main causes of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.
The chiefs from the fifteen counties made the pledge recently in Gbarnga, Bong County during a ceremony marking the ongoing cross border Ebola sensitization of the Mano River bordering countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.
The cross border initiative is being implemented by the Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP) with sponsorship from the United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF).
LCP, in partnership with UNICEF, on Monday held a one-day stakeholders and traditional leaders’ forum in support of Ebola prevention in the bordering counties of Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Cape Mount.
On behalf of the three counties, Chief of Lofa LCP County, Musa Kamara welcomed the initiative by the , describing it as wonderful.
“We will stop bathing dead bodies, eating bush meat, put a stop to Poro and Sande activities until Ebola can go,” Chief Musa pledged.
The traditional leader said with the level of education being provided by the LCP to people in the counties that border Guinea and Sierra Leone, the total eradication of the virus from the region would be achieved.
Chief Musa, who hails from one of the hardest hit counties, Lofa, stressed the need to cast out the virus by engaging the people and putting aside all of the traditional practices.
He asserted that the right message to fight the virus came late, saying, “The virus killed most of our people before we got the right message to fight it."
The chiefs called on NGOs to provide more support and training, which will empower them to keep up the fight.
“As chiefs we will make sure Ebola goes forever and we will celebrate the country’s July 26 Independence in good health,” said Chief Musa.
Bong County Health Officer, Dr. Samson Arzoequoi, stated that the health team in Liberia at the start of the outbreak made a mistake by not providing the right information to the public.
If the right information had been provided to the people as it is being done currently, he said, the virus would not have killed the number of people it did.
He thanked the people of Bong County for following the guidelines given them by the county health team and disclosed that Bong County has been free of Ebola since December 21 of 2014.