By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
There is no one in his or her ‘sound mind’, as we locally say, who would not happily rejoice over reports that the number of cases about the Ebola virus that has now claimed the lives of about 2000 Liberians, is gradually reducing in the country. Since its outbreak, in the past six months, the virus, which has concomitantly affected normal lives in all sectors of the country, the country is said to have taken the lives of Liberians, increasing the number of orphans.
Besides, the outbreak has led to some actions, such as travel restrictions on flight that have discontinued to operate in this country. As a nation, the government has declared a State of Emergency and has correspondingly taken measures and actions to help curtail the spread. It has quarantined certain areas and has imposed a curfew to restrict people’s movement, since one of the ways people contact the disease is through body contacts.
As President Sirelaf rightly observed in her recent letter to the world about what the virus disease has done to Liberia in particular, she pointed out that the virus disease has brought the country to a standstill. “The virus has been able to spread so rapidly because of the insufficient strength of the emergency, medical and military services that remain under-resourced and without the preparedness to confront such a challenge.
To date, she said 2,000 Liberians have died, some who are children struck down in the prime of their youth, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or best friends, including many brave health workers that risked their lives to save others, or simply offer victims comfort in their final moments.
Considering the consequences of the virus, measures have been put into place, with various groups on the national level and in various communities joining the war to confront this pestilence on the nation. Also, the concern and assistance of friendly countries and members of the international community, has greatly contributed to filling some of the gaps that have been exposed since the outbreak of this disease that has also affected neighboring countries -Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Today, as the nation welcomes this latest news about the reduction in the number of cases since the last few months, one cannot speak of this success, without mentioning the role being played by some members of the international community and some local groups and institutions as well as churches; the Indian Association, the Lebanese Community, Mandingo Caucus, Ecobank, Winners Incorporated, J. Luther Tarpeh, UNESCO Peace Ambassador to Liberia, just to name a few. Let me also recognize the role of few countries, including America, India, China, Nigeria and Ghana, as well as the World Bank and the World Health Organization, the African Union for continuously showing concern.
Announcing the reduction in the number of Ebola cases yesterday at the daily press briefing at the Information Ministry, it was gathered that the number of Ebola cases per day has now reduced from 10 to three. At ELWA Two, it is reported that in September the Center received over 520 Ebola patients with over 142 survivors and approximately 290 deaths and currently there are 54 patients and 41 have been confirmed at that unit while the Island Clinic ETU received 384 patients with 103 survivors.
Doctors Jerry Brown of ELWA-Two and Atai Omoruto of the Island Clinic ETU have both admitted that the troops of patients taken at their various Centers have decreased numerically. Dr. Brown said the ELWA holding unit now converted to a treatment unit has been receiving between two to three patients in the past few weeks as compared to the past two months where they have to admit over nine to 10 persons per day.
Furthermore, Dr. Omoruto, a Ugandan, also confirmed that the cases of Ebola have reduced as well but is not sure if it is the reality in the communities or people are just not reporting to the ETUs. She said several patients have been discharged from the Island Clinic ETU while more patients currently undergoing treatment are expected to be discharged anytime soon because they are responding to treatment.
Indeed, while the reduction in the number of cases is good news for this nation, whose citizens have to undergo certain measures to combat this disease, what matters now is to keep abiding by the measures, which I believe have significantly contributed to this drastic reduction from 10 cases to three daily. They include reporting about people who are ill and showing the signs or symptoms of the virus and washing of hands, one measure that has become prevalent in every society as well as avoiding some practices such as bathing dead bodies, touching of dead bodies and testing of temperature.
Today, we can pat ourselves on the back for this reduction in the Ebola case. Notwithstanding, we have to continue to abide by the measures to see this disease completely leave this country, which was once devastated by civil conflict.
We cannot afford what has now befallen us. Hence, the only way out is to be law-abiding as it regards enforcing the measures. This is no time for complacency, as this would be counter-productive to all efforts to curtail this virus. Today, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free; we too, can be in few weeks, only if we keep the measures.
Once again, there should be no room for COMPLACENCY, but to continue to abide by all of the measures in this battle to defeat Ebola. The anti-Ebola measures, in place today, are the laws we MUST obey to defeat Ebola.
Until we abidingly keep carrying out these measurers, this good news would be ephemeral, thus defeating the purpose of these measures, I Rest My Case.