We’re Defeating Ebola but Must Press On to the Finish

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Heaven knows where it came from, but one day we will know.  However, the deadly Ebola virus that has attacked our country in the way it has none other, will soon be gone.  It is receding fast, as many of the Ebola treatment units (ETUs) are down in patients.  Today, according to Dorbor Jallah, Deputy Incident Manager at the anti-Ebola Incident Management System, there are less than 400 Ebola cases nationwide, down from thousands. 

We must quickly add, however, Mr. Jallah’s warning: “We are not yet out of the woods; therefore it is incumbent on everyone in Liberia to obey strictly all the rules.” 

Mr. Jallah repeated them to our reporters who interviewed him last Sunday:  Don’t touch any infected person. Don’t touch any dead body.   Take yourself or anyone else suspected of any of the symptoms—very high fever, vomiting, frequent bleeding or stooling—immediately to a treatment center for testing.  Wash your hands on entering or exiting a building.  Avoid all cultural or religious practices that could spread the virus.  Avoid traveling to other places for now.

Why is it important and crucial for us to follow these rules?  Because it was the failure of our people to follow them that  caused the virus to spread so rapidly in our country.  For example, we lost so many people in Banjor, Virginia, near Monrovia because people insisted on bathing bodies and in the process, rapidly and senselessly infected themselves and others, leading to many deaths. 

In Bong County last week, the Chief Health Administrator, Dr. Sampson Azoakoi, told our Reporter the virus had killed so many more people in Bong because they simply REFUSED to give up their cultural or religious practices, thereby spreading the virus and killing people for nothing.  Dr. Azoakoi blamed this sad situation on “attitude and behavior.” 

Why can’t our people follow the great example of Nigeria and everybody in Nigeria, from President Goodluck Jonathan to the common person on the street? When Patrick Sawyer, the  Liberian-American, knowing he had been in contact with his Ebola-infected sister, senselessly and unconscionably hopped on a plane  bound for Lagos, he carried Ebola to the most populous African nation.  There he infected so many people, including doctors, nurses and others, causing the death of about 42 people.  Then everyone got busy—the hospital staff who, despite diplomatic pressure, refused to let Sawyer leave their premises; the Lagos State and Federal government, which immediately put other measures into place.  President Jonathan went so far as to close the schools.  The Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Medical and Dental Association and the common people all pitched in to help. 

Yes, the common people of Nigeria quickly understood the deadly nature of the Ebola virus and learned that it was their PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to follow ALL the rules to arrest it.  In the end, they lost 42 persons, but succeeded in stopping its further spread.  On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Nigeria Ebola free—the reward of the government and people’s seriousness, obedience and cooperation.

We appeal to all our people, especially those in Bong County, in Banjor and all others who are inclined to stick to their cultural and religious practices to STOP SPREADING THE EBOLA VIRUS.  Just as Dr. Azoakoi said, these attitudes, behaviors and practices have caused Ebola to spread in our country, and in its destructive path, to kill our people for nothing.      

One way to ensure that people follow the rules and take measures they need to take is for the government, national and local, at all levels, to get tough.  Anyone found breaking the rules should be arrested and given a stern warning and released, but closely watched. 

We cannot, must not sit supinely and see people causing the deaths of others—and even themselves—and do nothing.  We must take ACTION.  The police and all the other security agencies should be on the alert throughout the country to make sure that people follow the rules.

Everyone must learn, know and strictly observe the national slogan, popularized by LoneStar: “Ebola is real, and it kills.”

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