Decisive Action Needed to Confront the Virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone

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The news from Guinea and Sierra Leone last week was not good. The World Health Organization reported that between the two countries, 35 new cases of the Ebola infection had emerged.

For this reason, WHO had created a US$100 million contingency fund to ensure that the Organization will not be overwhelmed by a major crisis as experienced before that led to 11,000 deaths.

WHO said that particularly in Guinea, the government was still struggling with the refusal of people to abandon traditional rituals such as washing dead bodies, a very dangerous practice that led to many new infections and deaths in Liberia and elsewhere. Ebola dead bodies are highly infectious.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and all of us Liberians need to get involved here. Let us begin with our religious leaders. We urge the Chairman of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Most Rev.

Jonathan B.B. Hart, who is also Archbishop of the Interim Episcopal Province of West Africa, comprising Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to take the lead. It may be a good thing for him to propose to the LCC that they should resume their weekly prayer services which they convened each Friday.

The Archbishop should also encourage the Anglican (Episcopal) Bishops in Guinea and Sierra Leone, if they have not already done so, to start regular prayer and fasting, pleading with the Almighty to stop the virus in those countries.

We also call on Sheikh Kafumba Konneh to request all Moslems to say special prayers, especially on Fridays, for our people in Guinea and Sierra Leone, asking Allah to have mercy and drive out the virus from the two nations.

Now that Liberia has been declared Ebola-transmission free, we suggest that the government should dispatch to the two countries at least two ambulances each, since there is at this time no emergency for their use here. In addition, we reiterate a suggestion we made earlier, that Liberia should deploy some health and medical personnel to the two countries to render assistance in combatting the virus.

We further urged President Sirleaf to appeal to President François Hollande of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom to send at least 1000 troops to Guinea and Sierra Leone, respectively, in a decisive move to exterminate the virus from the two nations.

As the President rightly said, Liberia is not completely Ebola viral-free until it is wiped out of these two other nations that were also hard hit and are still battling the virus.

Liberia should also send in a substantial consignment of necessary chemicals, Ebola gear and other related supplies to help in the fight.

We further suggested that the GOL send some cash to the two countries. The foregoing are very practical ways of demonstrating our concern for the plight of Guinea and Sierra Leone still under the attack of the deadly virus.

Needless to say, we must strictly monitor all border crossings with these countries, ensuring that all of the measures that we as a nation and people took that helped us kick out the virus are in place at these borders. They include hand washing, temperature taking and the availability of well-equipped health personnel to respond immediately to any suspected cases.

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