Accountability and Transparency Should Characterize Official Anti-Ebola Fight

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Have not the Liberian people experienced calamity and crisis before but yet survived ?

It was the resilience of the Liberian people that basically carried them through from one crisis to the next, political observers say.

According to them such displayed resilience is one which most foreign experts working in Liberia have attested that never seems to dampen no matter the adverse circumstances imposed by a prolonged 14-yr. civil war.

Recalling history, at the onset of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2014, the population was gripped by fear.

This was largely because of the havoc it was wreaking on local people who hardly knew anything about the disease, its mode of transmission etc, and how to combat its spread.

Nevertheless, Liberians rallied to the general mobilization call by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to stand together and fight the disease.

While the Western world was fixed on an experimental drug known as Z-MAPP and discouraging local initiatives, Liberian medical professionals began experimenting with the use of antiretrovirals used to treat people suffering from Aids.

Dr. Logan, then assigned at the public hospital in Bomi took the lead and his efforts paid off, showing more successful recoveries than fatalities.

Also a nurse, realizing that there were no Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) available, she resorted to the use of plastic bags as protective material.

Meanwhile, local communities with information provided by the health authorities responded by forming voluntary contact tracing teams to track down individuals who may have come into contact with infected persons.

The public was advised to wash their hands routinely and avoid shaking hands as a way to help contain the spread of the virus.

Even schools were ordered shut to avoid crowding, which might lead to exposure since it had been determined that the disease was spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual.

Eventually the disease was halted in its tracks but not without first taking away the lives of thousands. Now word has broken of a resurgence of the virus in Liberia and Guinea and possibly Sierra Leone.

Similarly, when reports of cases of the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 in Liberia surfaced, most Liberians became gripped by panic and fear not knowing what to expect.

But before long, such widespread fears had soon dissipated. As it appears, most Liberians have been going about their business without bothering to wear protective face masks in public.

As for social distancing, it is but all in name as market places in areas such as West Point , Soniwehn, Klah Town (Clara Town).

Only recently, the county meet finals were held at the SKD stadium in Paynesville, which drew record crowds with people going without face masks. The President himself attended the event.

In the face of this, just why there has not been mass COVID-19 infections is a question that remains unanswered, and now with news of a resurgence of the Ebola Virus, this government is urged to treat the matter with the urgency it deserves.

Public officials should desist from sending mixed and confusing messages.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, this government is urged to go back to the thousands of contact tracers including community contact tracers and incorporate them in the strategy to contain the spread of the Ebola.

Important in this regard is to ensure transparency in the handling of resources allocated to fight EBOLA. During the last outbreak, thousands of dollars were reportedly stolen by public functionaries.

This time around, studious efforts should be applied to ensure that there will be absolutely no impunity for fortune seekers and those found guilty of stealing funds intended for the purpose.

All hands are needed on deck in view of the potential threat posed by what may be a resurgence of the Ebola virus.

President Weah is urged to make a call for general mobilization and that he should lead by example and from the front.

Ebola can be defeated; it has once before been defeated and Liberians are entreated to raise their guard for their own self-protection. Again, it has to be emphasized that transparency and accountability should be characteristic hallmarks of this latest anti-Ebola fight.

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