United States Senator and member of the Senate Committee on African Affairs and Appropriation, Chris Coons, has expressed satisfaction over the vigorous stand Liberia and its partners have taken to chase Ebola out of the country and sub-region.
Senator Coons, who is visiting Liberia to assess how resources, including financial and human, are being used in the Ebola fight in West Africa, told a news conference in Monrovia yesterday that significant progress had been made in the fight.
In the wake of the improvements in Liberia, the U.S. Senator said investors who left the country in August because of Ebola should begin to think about coming back to resume normal activities.
However, the Delaware Senator quickly admitted that the virus is yet far from under control in the sub-region and therefore people should not be complacent and avoid preventive measures given by health authorities.
He was especially impressed by the Monrovia Medical Unit built in Margibi County for health workers, who may in the process of meeting the needs of patients contract the disease.
Senator Coons said that this is the first time in history that Ebola has affected a region as it has done in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He stressed that until the entire region is free of the virus, there can be no hope of zero Ebola in Liberia.
As others, including President Barack Obama, had said earlier, Senator Coons noted that the health system in Liberia is fragile and full of infrastructural challenges, which he said came as a result of the civil war.
He warned that the virus is still far from under control as it can break out at anytime if people are not careful to observe practices that have helped to bring decline in cases.
Safe burial, hand washing, taking of temperature, amongst others, are among safety practices being put in place by health authorities to prevent the spread of Ebola.
With respect to the long-term goal to prevent a future outbreak, the U.S. Senator said that U.S. had brought in laboratory equipments to test cases of Ebola and other diseases and more PPEs.
He said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to establish its office in Liberia, in order to help the health system fast track diseases that may break out.
Furthermore, he stressed that United States is investing a huge amount in vaccine that will help to prevent Ebola.
Regarding U.S. financial aid expended in the sub-region, Senator Coons put the total at US$770 million, and Ambassador Deborah Malac was quick to remind audience that the money is in kind and cash but not a check issued to any government.
While it is a good thought to bring Ebola to zero, it takes commitment to adapting good health practices, Senator Coon emphasized.