Liberia: Ebola Is A Joke!!

E D I T O R I A L

The Liberian Listener is afraid, as Liberia celebrates its 167 independence anniversary that the Ebola virus currently raging throughout Western Africa, Liberia included is going to get worse by the day and that many people will contract the disease before it gets better. Many people think the powerful disease and virus is a joke! Many Liberians have still not come to terms that Ebola is real, and where cases are proven to be realistic family members are hiding infected victims, while those who have the disease are running away from authorities, instead of seeking help! If this trend continues, the disease is likely to spread across Africa too. Concerned about this trend Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said those” caught hiding the virus would be persecuted.”

The Liberian Listener notes that this week in Sierra Leone authorities are reporting and calling for help to track down the first known person in the capital to have contracted the virus, who reports say family members forcibly removed her from a Freetown hospital after testing positive for the deadly disease!  Freetown like Monrovia has about 1 million inhabitants, and so far the disease that has killed 660 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, since an outbreak was first identified in February, the numbers are growing.

“Saudatu Koroma,” a radio announcement said in the Freetown capital on Friday, “of 25 Old Railway Line, Brima Lane, Wellington is a positive case and her being out there is a risk to all. We need the public to help us locate her.”  Koroma, 32, a resident of the overly populated Wellington neighborhood, according to reports had been admitted to an isolation ward while blood samples were being tested for Ebola, said Sidi Yahya Tunis who spoke for the Sierra Leone Health Ministry. The results came back on Thursday. “The family of the patient stormed the hospital and forcefully removed her and took her away,” Tunis said. “We are searching for her.”

Police need to locate the family and arrest them! Harsh as that may sound the Liberian Listener believes their actions like other similar cases of such nature emanating out of Liberia as well  poses security health issues to not only to Sierra Leoneans, but also all the citizens within the Mano River sub region.

When Patrick O. Sawyer died this week in Lagos, Nigeria, the news hit diaspora Liberians hard! Sawyer left the comfort of Minnesota to take up assignment in Liberia to serve his country.  First, through a UNDP offer before becoming a WASH consultant at Liberia’s Ministry of Finance! His sister also died from the disease. She probably got it from her spouse who reports say ran away and is yet to be located.

The chief medical officer at Liberia’s main hospital The JFK in Monrovia, reports say has died. Before him, a Ugandan doctor died, and reports say the chief medical officer in Sierra Leone also died this week!  Add these deaths to also nurses dying at the JFK and the fact, the hospital said this week it was considering closing its doors, because in the words of Liberia’s Health Minister, “Ebola is beyond our control!” There are five know strains of Ebola, according to the  Huffington Post, and the current strain which Liberia is grappling with is said to be the most powerful—the Congo Ebola.

Yet, an always skeptic Liberian population at large, distrustful always due partly to illiteracy and a care-free attitude think this deadly disease and virus is a joke or some conspiracy theory hashed. It is time to wake up! Fighting this deadliest disease is already draining the region’s frail health systems. There are reports that many people with the deadly powerful virus are unaccounted for both in sierra Leone and Liberia!

Global medical establishments have sent experts to the field, especially Western Africa in an effort to beat back the outbreak, but the World Health Organization (WHO) have said poor health structures and shortages of adequate health professionals were deterring their efforts.

“We’re seeing many of these facilities simply don’t have enough people to provide the constant level of care needed,” WHO spokesman Paul Garwood told a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

Our Hearts go out to our countrymen as Liberia celebrates its 167 independence anniversary! The situation in Liberia is worrying. This is tough times for Liberia! Liberians have suffered too much the last three decades that saw the country crippled from crisis to crisis and then the civil war!

The population must cooperate with health authorities; this Ebola virus is getting out of hand! Those who are affected must be secluded and quarantine as they received treatment, to prevent spreading the virus further. More resources must be allocated to this national health crisis. And Liberia must secure its borders. Health authorities in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must share information about related cases and intelligence brought to bear,  hence security agencies must also join the fight and detain those who overtly or covertly are hiding and mixing with the population while endangering the lives of others. Liberia, Ebola is no joke it is pretty darn serious!

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