By Antoinette Sendolo
Liberia was for the second time declared Ebola-free Yesterday; four months after it was first declared an Ebola free-country by the world Health Organization on May 9 of this year.The third wave of the virus outbreak was declared on June 29 after an oral swab from a seventeen-year old boy was tested positive of the Ebola virus in Margibi County.
Speaking during the Ebola-free declaration program in Paynesville, Doctor Francis Ketteh said through the Ebola surveillance and Incident Management System rapid response plans and experienced field teams’ efforts, the Ministry of Health and its partners were able to quickly identify and isolate additional five cases and 143 contacts in Margibi and Montserrado Counties.
He said that helped to contain the further spread of the virus during the third wave of the virus.
“Today is a day to celebrate, but we must not forget what we have learned from the virus. As long as there is one case of Ebola in our region, Ebola remains a threat to us,” Doctor Ketteh said.
According to Dr. Ketteh, the Ministry of Health and its partners will continue to monitor Liberia’s borders and rebuild the health care system to ensure that Liberians remain safe from the Ebola virus noting that measures have been taken to improve surveillance and monitoring in the 15 counties for Ebola and other related diseases.
“Our job is not over. The Ministry of Health will maintain heightened surveillance for Ebola through community based surveillance initiatives developed during the course of the outbreak, and a policy of swabbing all dead bodies before burial.
“The government through the Ministry has mandated all health facilities and funeral homes to swab all dead bodies, while the communities are encouraged to call 4455 or alert local health officials about dead bodies in their environment,” he added.
Though Liberia has again been declared Ebola-free, the World Health Organization is calling for Liberia to continue 90 days of heightened surveillance for potential Ebola cases.
Keeping Ebola out of Liberia is not just the government’s business, or partners’ business; it is everyone’s business.
Now that Liberia is declared Ebola-free, the Ministry is calling on all Liberians to continue upholding and maintaining the preventive measures given by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WHO; such as good hand washing practices, reporting all sick people with signs and symptoms of the virus and making sure they are well when traveling and have their temperature checked at every check point.