Lawmakers Concerned About Ebola Virus

By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie

The recent outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever known as ‘Ebola’ has claimed the attention of the 53rd National Legislature expressing their willingness to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to tackle the epidemic.

The virus which has slashed away the lives of three persons in Lofa County has no clear history as to how it appears in humans but that the first person gets infected through contact with an infected animal.

Health Minister, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale and Liberia’s Chief Medical Official, Dr. Bernice Dahn, told Journalists at the Ministry of Information press briefing on Monday March 24, 2014, that Ebola has no treatment, vaccine but can be prevented.

The two health officials then  warned Liberians that if they experience any of the symptoms like sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain or sore throat followed by vomiting, such cases should be instantly reported to the nearest health center.

They also want Liberians to avoid the use of handshakes and kissing because the virus can be contacted through physical means.

At the 20th day sitting yesterday of the lawmakers, former Health Minister, now Senator of Grand Kru County, Dr. Peter Coleman briefed the plenary on the situation and warned that the matter be given due consideration.

Senator Coleman who chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Health, Gender and Children told his colleagues that since the disease has no cure, it is important that government gets involved with sensitization with the entire citizenry on local radio talk shows so that every Liberian can be informed about the danger it posses to human lives.

Other Senators suggested that immediate decision should be taken to close all borders for now since the virus is encountered by physical contacts and handshakes.

They also pledged to engage relevant government agencies to seek funding for the Health Ministry to begin prompt action on the matter.

Maryland County Senator, John Ballout, wants government to provide more soap for students in public schools to begin washing their hands while on campuses.

At the end of the brief discussion on the subject, Bong County Senator, Henry Yeallah proffered a motion that the committee on Health be mandated by plenary to work with Health Ministry officials to tackle the spread of the virus and report periodically to the Senate.

In the House of Representatives, its plenary has also mandated the committee on Health to move in immediately to work with Health authorities to remedy the situation in the country.

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