SINCE THE OUTBREAK of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country in March of this year, residents and citizens alike have been undergoing strong degree of hardship as the scourge continues to defy family traditions and other cultural practices very common to the hospitable people of Liberia. It has gone to the level where members of a family or love ones can no longer cater to their sick or dead relatives for fear of being infected with the disease.
THIS IS SERIOUSLY a peculiar situation which is devastating families, communities and every affected Ebola terrain in the country. Although to the displeasure of all, this is now becoming the order of the day as several family members sit sadly only to see their love ones die and be cremated something which is very hurtful and abnormal to the cultural practices of the Liberian people which are deeply rooted in the rich African Cultural heritage.
MEDICAL EXPERTS WHO are knowledgeable of the virus have advised that people must not touch their sick and dead love ones or risk being infected with the virus. With agony people are now abiding with this advice even though it is very inflexible to accept but whatever it may be, we all have seen the danger ignoring this advice has caused to families, communities and our country. Indeed the danger is that over a thousand of our citizens have succumbed to the disease especially during the past months.
SECONDLY, CALLING FOR an ambulance to remove a sick or dead person in recent time though improving at a slow pace, is still a difficult task as calls after calls for the removal of a dead person remains a task that can sometime take two to three days. Now there are reports that whenever the burial team comes to remove a dead or sick person for cremation or treatment, they at times demand for money to execute the task for which they are being paid. This attitude is obstinate and must be condemned in the strongest term. Again maybe agreeing to the payment which sometime leads to the release of the body to the family should also be stopped as it has the propensity of further spreading the Ebola virus especially when no test is taken as to the cause of death.
ANOTHER PROBLEM WHICH is also creeping into the society as the result of this Ebola epidemic is the attitude of people stigmatizing their friends, family members and others who have survived the disease and discharged from treatment centers. When the two Americans who were infected with the virus in Liberia were flown home to the United States, treated and discharged from Hospital, they were never stigmatized by their friends, family members or love ones. They were accepted and embraced because they are clear of the disease. Why can’t we follow this example and accept our friends, love ones and family members when they are cleared of the virus?
IT IS THIS number of hurtful developments which include stigmatization, demanding money for rendering service to affected persons that are of serious concern to us. If we must win this fight and defeat Ebola throughout the length and breadth of Liberia and beyond our borders,
THEREFORE, WE MUST be our brothers’ keepers by exhibiting the spirit of care, concern and true brotherliness. Whatever may be, this situation must not kill our human spirit but strengthen our resolve to keep our families, society and national heritage intact.
LET’S TRULY BE our brothers’ keepers; fight this virus in a holistic manner while remaining united as a people and we will triumph.