Professor Albert Tugbe Chie, one of the senatorial aspirants of GrandKru County, has called on government to reopen schools and that the closure of school should not go beyond the 90 days State of Emergency.
According to the Grand Kru Senatorial aspirant’s press statement of August 30, 2014 signed by him, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, “It will take us take about six to nine months to completely eradicate this particular outbreak noting, ‘we cannot afford for our schools to be closed for six months and offices could not be operational’”.
“I would strongly recommend to the government that appropriate steps be taken in order to open schools after the end of the 90-day State of Emergency period,” Prof. Chie stated.
“The Ministry of Education, the Ebola Task Force and other relevant agencies should now start developing plans for the institution of Ebola prevention measures at educational institutions. Offices, businesses and other outfits should begin to operate fully after they have put in place Ebola prevention measures. The government should give consideration to the timely lifting of the curfew and should not plan to extend the State of Emergency beyond the 90 day period,” Professor Chie noted.
According to Professor Chie the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) continues to pose a threat to our existence as a nation to our health, educational pursuit, the economy and our general well-being have been compromised.
Noting that Ebola is a new disease in our country which all of us are trying to understand, he continued that it was never part of the health care delivery system of our country and it will also take some time before we fully understand it.
He further stated that with our productive capacity significantly reduced, real GDP will continue to fall, as the associated economic realities which have and will continue to transcend all aspects of our lives, will be felt by all Liberians.
Professor Chie said, ”Although our people are still dying of EVD and new cases are emerging, saying we are of the opinion that as a country we have done well at trying to contain the spread of the disease noting firstly, the state of denial is winding down gradually, and many Liberians are now accepting that Ebola is real. The government of Liberia has been doing well also, although there are many challenges to overcome, the MSF and few other international and local NGGOs have shown their presence, but some international health institutions have been very slow adding we should also thank the Governments of China, the USA and those of other countries which have come to our aid. Many private Liberians as well as foreign individuals and businesses are fully involved in the fight. We are of the belief that our country will get the upper hand in the Ebola fight very soon, but that we should not dwell on criticisms but on suggestions on how to improve the system,” Prof. Chie intimated.
Professor Chie said as a nation, we still have challenges to overcome the threat of the EVD, naming the establishment of more testing centers across the country, tracing those who are sick and be able to evaluate their Ebola statuses quickly and establish more isolation centers, better health services for the infected provide basic services to quarantined centers, ensure that those who are infected with Ebola do not die at home (this will eliminate the need for collection of dead bodies from home by the authorities) and ensure that those counties which are Ebola free remain that way.
According to Professor Chie the economy has also been compromised and it is a challenge for the Government to stop the economy from crumbling in the absence of the mobilization of the needed financial and material resources to fully stop the Ebola outbreak.
He noted that Grand Kru County, his constituency is still free of Ebola according to information available to him as data available states that the poverty index (using UNMET Needs) is about 78.4 percent, the second highest in the country; this means that in all sectors, education, infrastructure, health, income, etc., his county is at the bottom in a country that is very poor, saying they therefore cannot afford for Ebola to break out there.
Professor Chie noted that there is no system in place yet in Grand Kru County to check movement of people into the county as Grand Kru has entry points from Maryland County, from Rivergee County, from Sinoe County and entry from the ocean is minimal saying there is an urgent need to mount Ebola assessment facilities at the main entry points.
He said further that training should now begin for health personnel in the county to handle any outbreak, plus the provision of protective equipment at the various health facilities.
Professor Chie disclosed that the county’s authority has set up a task force in each of the 12 traditional communities which are presently engaged in awareness. However, these local task forces are faced with problems of logistics.
According to him, his organization, the Friends of Albert Chie, is also involved in the Ebola awareness across the county and has distributed some preventive materials such as buckets, clorax and chlorines.
The University of Liberia Professor also frowned on the Sub-regional and Regional solidarity in the Ebola fight describing it as disappointing. “To say the least, the Ebola outbreak which originated in Guinea constitutes a health transgression in the sub-region and we expected full cooperation from all ECOWAS countries and the African Union to bring the Ebola crisis under control,” he intimated.