President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has written her United States’ counterpart, Barack H. Obama, requesting America’s swift intervention in Liberia’s Ebola crisis.
She appealed to him to send US medical doctors and equipment to help stop the spread of the deadly epidemic in the country.
In her letter, she told President Obama and the American people that the Ebola virus is spreading at an exponential rate “and we have a limited time window to arrest it.”
The Liberian leader also bluntly told President Obama that the virus outbreak has overwhelmed the containment and treatment measures her government has attempted thus far.
”Our already limited resources have been stretched to breaking point and up to now a private charity, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), has responded robustly in all the affected countries. But MSF, too, has reached its limits,” she said.
Liberia will lose the battle against the Ebola virus without more direct help from the US Government, she warned.
She also told President Obama that well over 40% of total Ebola cases have occurred in the last 18 days.
“Our message has gotten out and our citizens are self-reporting or bringing in their relatives. But our treatment centers are overwhelmed. MSF is now running a 160 bed-unit, the largest ever Ebola treatment unit in the history of the disease and even that is inadequate,” she stated.
President Sirleaf openly told President Obama that the Ebola virus has created a national health emergency that posed serious challenges to the country’s unemployed youthful population, some of whom were child soldiers, and threatens civil order.
“What is even heartbreaking is that we are unable to reopen our basic secondary health facilities because terrified health workers, who have watched their colleagues die from the disease, are afraid to return to work,” she said.
About 153 health workers have been infected and 79 have died.
President Sirleaf’s admittance that the Ebola virus outbreak has overwhelmed her government is a wakeup call to the international community to promptly and affirmatively respond to save Liberia.
It is well over six months since the outbreak, but nothing really concrete has come from the international community.
By sitting and watching innocent lives taken away daily by a virus that can be contained and defeated is equal to the commission of genocide.
The international community has a responsibility to Liberia in lines with international protocols, to which this sovereign nation is signatory and which it has always respected and enforced.
It is time for President Obama and the American government and people to demonstrate their true traditional friendship and partnership and demonstrate to Liberians and the world that Americans are truly our ally.
The British Government has proven its worth in Sierra Leone where it is heavily involved in helping the Sierra Leone Government contain the Ebola virus from spreading. Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization’s later data, has the lowest Ebola-related deaths in the Mano River Union basin.
We are also told that the Russian Government has dispatched doctors and scientists to Guinea and they have made successful gains in containing the virus from spreading. Guinea’s total Ebola deaths toll, WHO says, is about 600.
But the toll in Liberia is fast approaching 1,400 and could even go higher. One may wonder where are our international partners we usually boast of.
And what is the United States, our traditional ally, friend and partner—doing to help its oldest African friend? We pray that we are not being reminded of the 1990 civil war when US President George Bush refused to intervene to stop the civil war.
The US Government’s refusal to send US troops to help stop the senseless civil in Liberia and save it from self-destruction led to the death of over 250,000 and the near total destruction of the country. It took Britain and other partners of Liberia to criticize the US before “Uncle Sam” sent US troops on the ground and demanded Charles Taylor’s departure, to which he immediately acceded.
The US always supported ECOWAS troops during the war, however, but it wasn’t sufficient of them.
The Liberian civil war immediately ended few months after US troops arrived in the country. We salute the US for the little it has done, but a lot more is needed.
The second wakeup call President Sirleaf’s letter goes directly to the Liberian people. The President has already made it very clear that her government lacks capacity financial, human resources and logistics to contain the deadly Ebola virus. What we need to do the most as a people is a ‘break in transmission.’
Let us avoid coming in physical contacts with infected person (s) or sick people whose sicknesses have not been diagnosed by medical doctors.
We are too good a people to be destroying our own lives. We must stop pointing fingers, accusing and blaming one another for this virus and begin to report all suspected sick persons in our communities and save lives.