Hmm! This is how far the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has come. We can’t even imagine how far it is going. When the EVD hit just one county, we advised our leaders to take some actions but they really didn’t take heed. Now, see how far the virus has raged. What is our fate like now?
Thank God we now have a National Task Force to battle this virus. But like the chair of the Task Force has been calling, I also think we all must join in the fight against Ebola. It is very worrisome waking up every morning to hear about a new victim of the Ebola virus. Reading the regular updates from UNICEF and other organizations is not exciting because the documents themselves are not exciting and I am sure experts who prepared them themselves do not feel excited writing such reports.
Also, going through the various dailies and online sources and the headlines, all are saying Ebola, Ebola, Ebola and fear keeps developing.
Besides, this virus has interfered with our normal way of life – we no longer feel safe to even shake hands; which is one of the most common things in our society. Why? Because we are being advised not to do so–talk of hugging and other forms of greetings. The fear of the disease is even making us to look like strange human beings – we dress differently, wear gloves and other forms of protective clothing, take bath with clorax and other detergents, only because we want to feel safe and live on.
The Fear of Ebola has also interfered with the way we even care for our sick friends and relatives and how health workers care for their sick patients. As a result of the fear of the virus, we isolate ourselves from our sick friends and family. We call authorities on them as if someone is reporting that health workers are refusing to take in some patients. People are being stigmatized only because we fear Ebola.
One cherished part of our Liberian culture is how we honor our dead. But in the wake of Ebola, your dear departed will not be given that degree of honor, particularly if authorities say they died of Ebola. We are being strictly prohibited from going close to the dead person. This is terrible! This is a cherished part of culture and doing away with it is terrible. How long will this persist? For how long will our people die from Ebola?
Who knows whether it is still safe for us to go to our places of worship.
Let us be more serious in the fight. Let all of us get on board. We need to stop politicizing this thing. In fact, I think the National Elections Commission (NEC) needs to pause her preparations for this year’s senatorial elections as some of us have done to our events and gatherings as we join the fight against this menace that is waging war on us. Since Ebola has declared war, let us fight back.
I saw that the NEC has released 139 names of people who want to be senators. To all 139 of you I say, pause your political activities, go out to those people whose votes you want. Tell them to play safe to stay alive come October this year. Tell them Ebola is real and has no cure. Tell them to tell others to play safe.
Go back in your communities and districts. Go to places where you play in and places where you pray in. Tell the people you meet there that Ebola is in Liberia and the best place to treat sick people is the hospital. Make it very clear to them in whatever way or language and dialect you can that hospitalizing the sick is the only way to stop the disease. Keeping sick people in homes and other places would not do the situation any good but harm.
Tell your people that Ebola is not just bleeding. It develops over a very short period of time and by the time the person starts to bleed, the situation has become fatal. Tell them not to wait for bleeding. Beg them, if you must.
To me, this is what true leadership is about. It is not just about fighting to occupy an office or occupying an office. It is about reaching out to people. It is about serving your people. This year, this is how we will identify our true leaders – people who care for us.
Government’s honest priority too should be to try to stop this outbreak. We need to be vigorous and proactive. We need to put hold on the things that matter to us and fight to save the lives of the people we govern – the people who have entrusted us with the mantle we are wearing, the people whose confidence we have. We need to be there for them more than ever before. We need to show our people that we love and care about them.
Some of us have lost the confidence that was entrusted unto us. This is an opportunity to restore it. This is an opportunity to restore hope. This is an opportunity to rebuild broken bridges and relationships. This is an opportunity for you to reconnect with your people and their welfare.
Do this individually if you must. This is not one of the times when you need your colleagues to endorse your actions. Move out as the leader and see if people will not follow you. Engage with the people who are already championing the cause. Ask them how you can be of support. Don’t wait for them to come knocking on your doors calling ‘honorable, honorable’. Reach out to them.
With all the measures we are putting in place, we must pray. We must call on God to intervene. We must renew our trust and continue to trust that He alone is God and He will deliver us from this terrible menace. Let us ask Him to heal our land. He did it in the past and He can do it again because we know that He is the same God of yesterday, today and forever.
Fellow Liberians, let us know that God is God and He is still on the throne. He does not have a successor (and He will never have) and neither does He have a predecessor. If we trust in Him, we shall not me moved. We shall be like Mount Zion which is neither moved nor shaken. We will be still and watch to see the salvation of the Lord our God.
We must save the state. In light of the increase in the cases of Ebola, our main concern at this time should be to ensure the safety and security of ourselves and the people around us. We must do our best. This is because our best is Liberia’s best.