Ebola in Guinea: a National Health Emergency for Liberia, Too
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea and its almost immediate impact on Liberia, in particular in the Foya District bordering that closest of neighbors, is an alarming and dangerous development.
But equally alarming is that authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia have reported that five of six persons, who crossed over from Guniea into Liberia recently, have now died from the virus; while the sixth is critical and being treated at a health facility in Zorzor, Lofa County.
The Liberian Government’s response, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoSHW) has been timely as the government sent a team to those bordering towns last Friday in order to track the spread of the disease and sensitize the local health authorities and residents on the prevention of the disease, which threatens lives.
The United States Embassy in Monrovia has already issued an alert toits citizens to be warned and be careful, and pointed to a number of precautionary safeguards they should take to protect themselves from this most serious disease outbreak.
Several international news organizations, including Agence France Presse and USA Today, have reported on the Ebola outbreak.
The Liberian Government, through its Ministries of Health and Social Welfare and Information, Culture and Tourism and in collaboration with the World Health Organization-Liberia office, had a major press conference in Monrovia listed initial measures that they have put into place to contain the virus.
They said a team of health practitioners had since last Friday been sent to those bordering communities.
The Daily Observer has, fortunately, carried on Monday a fairly comprehensive story that warns the public about this dangerous Ebola outbreak, explained in part what it is and how the public can protectitself from it. Our readers and the general public should not lose sight of what the Observer and the US Embassy have stated, that ourpeople should avoid eating food imported from Guinea for now,especially vegetables and dry meat–monkey, deer, groundhog, etc.
Much of these commodities consumed in Liberia is brought in by ourmarket women who travel to Guinea regularly to purchase them for saleto their Liberian customers.
We regret that these poor market women must suffer losses from whatthey have invested in these purchases, but they do, we are sure,understand the serious health implications, even for themselves, theirchildren and others close to them.
We pray that those market women who have traveled to Guinea recentlywould take EVERY PRECAUTION, first by reporting themselves to the JohnF. Kennedy Medical Center and to other health and medical institutionsto be tested of the virus, in order to prevent the further spreadingof the disease at home.
It is actually the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare that shouldbe on the air and in the newspapers constantly warning the publicabout what to do in order to protect themselves and the greater publicfrom the spread of this disease.
The Ministries’ press conference yesterday might allay the fear, which the news of the outbreak of Ebola virus might now be on the minds of almost everyone. However, those safety measures highlighted by our story and the US Embassy in its message to US citizens, should be well adhered to in order to avoid the disease spreading beyond those areas that it is presently being reported.