Adieu, Dr. Brisbane and Other Ebola Victims:

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The Liberian nation was deeply saddened when, amidst the subdued celebration of our 167th Independence Anniversary, we learned in the early afternoon of July 26 that one of our most senior and most distinguished medical practitioners had fallen victim to Ebola.

Dr. Samuel Brisbane spent a considerable portion of his career at the Firestone Medical Center where, from 1992 to 2003, he served as medical director.  He   later transferred to the John  F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK), where he rendered services based on his nearly a half century of experience as a general practitioner.  He had already begun his medical practice at the JFK when he returned from medical studies in Germany at the turn of the 1970s.

In his long career Dr. Brisbane trained hundreds Liberian medical students as well as many from foreign lands, who have gone on themselves to become medical practitioners.

In his passing, Liberia has lost an outstanding medical doctor, who was in good health, ready and able to continue for many more years to come  serving his country in the  vital field of medicine.  His unswerving commitment was doggedly maintained when so many of the younger doctors he impacted have since the 1980 coup d’etat and the outbreak of the civil war sought greener pastures abroad.  Dr. Brisbane remained on the ground throughout the war making, at great sacrifices to fulfill his invaluable services to his people.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led the nation and people last Saturday in paying tribute to all our health and medical personnel who have paid the supreme sacrifice in service to their compatriots since the outbreak of Ebola.

And these include the widow and family of Dr. Sam M. Muhumuza, the Ugandan doctor who also lost his life last week treating Ebola patients in Caldwell, Monterrado County.  We think it was appropriate for President Sirleaf to honor his widow, Mrs. Muhumuza,  during the Independence Day ceremonies last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the deadly virus continues to take its toll.  Yesterday the Daily Observer Health Correspondent, Alaskai Moore Johnson, reported that Bomi Hospital in Tubmanburg, Bomi County had been shut down because the virus had affected the county’s Health Services Officer and his entire  family of 10.

The US-based humanitarian group, Samaritan Purse, reported yesterday one of its medical staff, Dr. Kent Brantly, is undergoing intensive medical care after testing positive to the virus.  Also, the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), founders of Radio Station ELWA and ELWA Hospital, reported that one of its staff in Liberia, Nancy Write Bol, personnel coordinator at ELWA, is also infected.

We at the Daily Observer join in extending our deepest condolences to all the affected  families.  We wish all who have contracted the virus, by God’s grace, a speedy and complete recovery.

The President, in her Independence Day Message last Saturday, declared a state of national emergency in Liberia, and ordered Liberia’s borders closed.  Suggestions to this effect had been earlier made, but the government felt that somehow the virus would be contained.  Now that it is spreading almost like wild fire, something drastic needed to be done.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has been proactive in putting in place measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Today, many banks and other business houses are requiring all visitors, before entering their premises, to wash their hands with soap, Clorox solution and other  detergents.  We urge ALL other businesses, public buildings, schools and other educational institutions and even homes throughout the country to do the same.  Before one enters a yard, a gate or a building, there should be water, soap or detergents available to enable all to wash hands before entrance.

Yesterday, the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, one of the nation’s leading and most forward looking public corporations, joined in the battle against Ebola.  The LPRC Board of Directors allocated US$75,000 to assist the Health and Social Welfare Ministry to acquire more gloves and other gears to protect the people from Ebola.

We applaud the LPRC for this magnanimous gesture and call on all other para-statals as well as all businesses and concessions, such as Firestone, ArcelorMittal, Sime Darby, etc., to pitch in by contributing to the fight against this incurable and deadly virus which, as never before, threatens the entire Liberian landscape and far beyond.

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