There was no need, it seemed to me, to reject outright the outsourcing of the Ebola fight and to insist on Liberians doing it alone, on their own terms, as some significant individuals have suggested. On the other hand, there was also no need to reject, outright, Liberians trying to get a handle on the Ebola epidemic by doing it on their own as a sovereign nation. The truth, it seems, is somewhere in the middle and that is what Dr. Dunn (The Liberian Observer September 10, 2014 http://www.liberianobserver.com/editorials/ebola-threat-international-peace-and-security and The Perspective September 11, 2014 http://www.theperspective.org/2014/0910201401.php) and Mr. Morlu (The Perspective September 9, 2014 http://www.theperspective.org/2014/0909201404.php) have provided for us. What we need is a constructive cooperation, a partnership, with the international health organizations, identified both by Morlu and Dunn, to battle and win the fight against this Ebola scourge. These organizations, in addition to the financial resources they can bring also have the needed technical and scientific skills and the accumulated historical knowledge to help the Ebola situation significantly. With such a joint venture between Liberia and the international health organizations we can learn and get the expertise and resources which may help us to set up lasting institutions of our own to combat future crises. I commend Dunn and Morlu for providing us the framework for such a cooperative undertaking. Let us combine their two recommendations to form the base organization for the cooperative venture to fight the scourge of Ebola.
Dr. Dunn provided us the international framework for such a cooperative venture. The five points he recommended for accomplishing this international cooperative venture should be taken seriously and implemented immediately. His call for prominent African leaders including our own Madam Leymah Gbowee to respond openly and actively to the crisis is significant in expanding the context.
And it is his call for prominent African leaders including our Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Leymah Gbowee that connects his recommendations to the three-point recommendation of Mr. John Morlu 111. Mr. Morlu frames his recommendations with a focus on Liberian participation and he recommends significant Liberians to be included, such as Senator Nyonblee Kanga-Lawrence and one could add Madam Gbowee to this list. To this Liberian list I will suggest adding: The Dean of the Arthur Grimes Law School, Professor David A. B. Jallah, Dr. Joe Diggs, Mr. Kenneth Best, Mr. John Morlu 111, Dr. Ayele Ajavon and Dr. Elwood Dunn. These plus others could form the Liberian contingent of the Ebola Eradication group. As both Dunn and Morlu suggested, the international health organizations like MSF, WHO etc, can name those who will constitute their contingent and the two groups will form the institutional base for the fight against Ebola. Of course the American military can help as they have started to do but they will have to be under the over all rubric of this organization. This group or institution will have to be given the legal and constitutional basis for functioning in Liberia. It is urgent that we establish this immediately.
However, all these will not work and the monies and resources generated can easily be swallowed up and squandered if there is no transparency or accountability. This, to me, is the significance of Mr. Morlu's insistence that the institution so set up “Ask the European Union or American Government to appoint a Chief Accountant … to manage the Ebola money. This will send a clear message that Liberia is ready for accountability”. This, in my judgment, is very important because corruption has, for long, crippled and incapacitated us in building our Nation. Corruption is not only eating up our resources and exporting them to the developed countries but also consuming our birthright in the lots and property we sell or mortgage to foreigners. We need a credible outside accountant to control the recalcitrant edges of our loose and undisciplined money-management habits.
Dr. Dunn and Mr. Morlu 111 have given us the framework for a viable organization to combat Ebola in Liberia. Let us move very fast in implementing their recommendations.
About the author
Dr. Igolima T. D. Amachree can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.