FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia: Ebola - a National Emergency, Sirleaf Declares On Redemption Visit

Monrovia — In the wake of a renewed outbreak of Ebola virus in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed government's commitment to fight the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently announced a renewed outbreak of the Ebola virus in the New Kru Town vicinity that has claimed the lives of at least seven persons including a health worker at the Redemption Hospital who was infected by the virus while attending a patient.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader had gone to the Redemption Hospital on the Bushrod Island to sympathize with the administration, nurses and staff there who are mourning the loss of their colleague, Esther Kesselee, and at the same time ascertain the state of affairs at the hospital relative to its preparedness to cope with an influx of patients if the need arises.

At the hospital, President Sirleaf said she was visiting them to pay tribute to the administration, nurses and staff for their courage and sacrifices to the nation and promised government's fullest support for their service to the country.

She called on all Liberians to see the Ebola pandemic as a national emergency and stop politicizing it as it's only a united front that will complement the efforts of government and its partners to successfully fight the virus.

Speaking earlier, the Assistant Minister of Health for Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, informed President Sirleaf of the challenges faced by the health workers in the fight against the outbreak including fear and denial.

He explained that the nurses at the Redemption Hospital are seriously traumatized by the death of their colleague which has also affected their zealousness to work as they fear of being infected by the virus while attending to suspected cases.

Mr. Nyenswah disclosed that based on the demand of health workers since the death of their colleague, the administration has fumigated all the strategic areas at the hospital which has helped to alleviate their fear.

One challenge Mr. Nyenswah highlighted was that family members of the dead victims are posing serious hindrance to the instant burial of these fatalities which is one of the surest ways of prevention. He said family members were demanding the remains of their dead relatives for burial in keeping with normal traditions which he said if not curtailed will also hinder the prevention efforts.

The Representative of the World Health Organization, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, who provided updates to the Liberian President on the recent outbreak, agreed with Assistant Minister Nyenswah that government and its partners were not only fighting the Ebola virus but also trying to allay the fear that has caused health workers to sometimes desert patients. He indicated that the Liberian leader's visit to the hospital was a great motivation to the health workers in dealing with the fear.

The WHO Representative, on behalf of the United Nations family, renewed its commitment to partnering with Liberia in the fight against the virus.

In another development, as part of her activities on Tuesday, June 17, President Sirleaf visited the offices of the Liberia National Police (LNP) where she inspected 13 brand new vehicles to be used by them to facilitate its operation.

She stressed that the vehicles are to be assigned to the leeward counties where mobility for the police is always difficult and hoped the donation of the vehicles will enhance police operations in the rural counties.

The purchase of the vehicles is part of government's plan to take over security of the country in the wake of UNMIL drawdown.

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