“Stop The Mat Business Small”…Ellen Pleads With Bassonians

By Morrison O.G Sayon

With the increasing rate in this vicious Ebola virus in the country, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has made a passionate plea with citizens of Grand Bassa County to stop getting on mats to mourn the dead ones.

President Sirleaf who visited health facilities in Grand Bassa County last week informed the Bassa citizens that Ebola is real and is claiming hundreds of lives in the country and as such Bassonians must stop touching dead bodies or getting together in huge numbers.

“Thank you very much for following the measures by washing your hands and other measures announced by the Ministry of Health but I’m here to plead with you to stop the ‘mat business’ small until we can fight this Ebola virus,” the Liberian leader pleaded with the citizens in Jonnie Town, Dowein Town, Grand Bassa County.

President Sirleaf said the virus is devastating every fabric of the society including the loss of lives and at the same time ravaging the economy of the nation. She called on Bassonians to relax some of the traditional practices including getting on mats as a means of mourning their dead relatives and friends.

Traditionally, Bassonians, like other Kwa-speaking groups including Kru and Grebo, are better known for spending times on mats to mourn their dead ones. They are also known for bathing (washing) dead bodies as part of traditional rites which were long practised by their ancestors.

Liberia, a tiny West African nation that had emerged from a 14-year of devastating civil conflict is facing its worst times as the Ebola pestilence rages on in the country. The country has recorded the highest number of deaths amongst the three West African Countries that are most affected by the epidemic in recent times.

The Ebola virus is not just a public health crisis. It has also become a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis, and a threat to national security beyond the outbreak zones.

President Sirleaf as head of the National Task Force on Ebola has begun visiting health facilities across the country with her latest visit to Grand Bassa County over the weekend. The President used the occasion to appreciate health workers who are sacrificing for the sake of humanity.

She distributed personal items to health workers and Personal Protective Equipment to the various health centers in the county. Pres. Sirleaf also turned over a brand new vehicle to the Liberia Government Hospital in Buchanan to strengthen the fight against the deadly disease.