LAST WEEK, HEALTH & Social Welfare Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale confirmed the death of at least seven persons in Foya, Lofa County from the effectual Ebola virus. Addressing the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information in Monrovia on Tuesday, Dr. Gwenigale confirmed that the virus has already killed at least seven people in the country.
HE SAID THE other sister of the lady, who was reported to have died of the virus in Foya, Lofa County is infected with the virus as well. He said it was sadden to note that some Liberians, including media institutions were still doubtful about the existence of the Ebola virus in Liberia, which was initially reported in neighboring Guinea.
INTERESTINGLY, FEW DAYS after the minister’s press briefing, there was protest action before the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town by some young men and women after it was widely spread that the government intends to build an Ebola Center at the Redemption Hospital.
ALSO, THERE HAVE been reports that some hospitals or medical practitioners were turning down some sick people for fear of being affected by the Ebola Virus. One Liberian explained how his mother was turned back by some medical centers for similar reasons.
BREAKING SILENCE ON the issue, President Sirleaf, who is out of the country said she was receiving reports daily from the concerned authorities on the issue and said there was no need for panic as the situation is being contained and well controlled, and urged the media and politicians not to create unnecessary panic among the Liberian people, by saying things, without the details.
IN VIEW OF what is obtaining in the wake of this deadly disease, it is necessary that the government beefs up its information dissemination to the Liberian people. We have noticed that there is still misinformation on the matter. Besides, we have observed how some individuals were making mockery or joking over this serious matter, to an extent that even a joke by the Minister of Health became a headline in a local newspaper.
CONSIDERING THE LACK of knowledge on the situation, coupled with the way and manner in which some individuals are creating this deadly disease with triviality, it is necessary that the authorities maximize its public awareness programs.
The fact that even some medical practitioners are themselves, causing panic and fear; this is enough for a more vigorous and well coordinated public awareness.
WHILE COMMENDING THE Ministry of Health for its briefing and the President for her assurance and that she is on ‘top’ of things, we still feel that much needs to be done to educate the people and create the necessary awareness to avoid the spread of this deadly disease.
LEST WE FORGET that as it is said that “there is no cure” for this deadly Ebola Virus, we are of the strong conviction that only public education and awareness are the necessary ingredients to avoid this spread. This is our plea.