Reviewing The Communication Strategy

SINCE THE SERIES of public announcements by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism that no one is to touch or remove corpses of dead persons without contacting the Ministry of Health, it has been observed in recent times the discovery of many dead bodies in several communities without intervention from the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.

THE ADVICE FROM the Health Ministry has caused many families, friends and relatives to abandon the remains of their families, friends or love ones to avoid getting in contact with the deadly Ebola virus. But despite the advice by the Health Ministry, we continue to see or hear of the abandonment of dead bodies in several communities without been removed by authorities of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.

THIS SITUATION CONTINUES to pose serious health hazard in many communities as some of the bodies remain on the streets or in houses for days. A particular case was in New Kru Town recently where bodies of some dead residents of the community could not be removed by the residents in accordance with the advice by the Ministry.

THE MANNER IN which Government is creating the awareness and communicating with the citizens in containing the Ebola virus has instilled serious fear in the minds of many Liberians and are afraid to touch the bodies of their family members thus causing the remains of a dead person to overstay in several communities.

WHAT WE ARE hearing is that whenever a person dies whether he or she dies from the Ebola virus or not, people are afraid to remove their corpses. Sometimes the Ministry of Health can be contacted to remove the corpses without any response and as such the bodies remain in such community for several days.

INSTEAD OF HELPING the situation, we believe that this is not in any way contributing positively contributing to the fight against the virus as bodies are left alone in houses or residential areas without being removed by the Ministry of Health or other health authorities.

THIS IS SERIOUSLY affecting our people despite what the Health Ministry says these measures are intended to fight the Ebola virus. We call on the Ministry of Health and Information Ministry to redefine their public announcement strategy and decide on new strategies to stop further spread of the virus. Some of the abandoned bodies may not be that of an Ebola patient but died from other diseases.

WE THINK THAT this method of communication creates fear in the minds of the people especially so when they have been advised against touching any body in their homes or communities. Even health workers are being considered as Ebola suspects something that has discouraged them from continuing their works at many health centers in the country.

WHAT IS BEING of major concern in recent times is that whenever the Ministry of Health’s hotlines are called to report the presence of a patient or dead body in a particular community called, there can be no immediate response.

THAT IS WHY government must redefine its communication strategy and act swiftly in responding to cases whether Ebola or ordinary cases to curtail the death toll in our country. Let there be serious sensitization on this deadly Ebola virus. Let the Health Ministry or other health authorities in the country respond to the hotlines because the situation is posing serious health hazard in many communities.