FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

31 July 2014

Liberia Petroleum Company Gives U.S.$75 K to Combat Ebola

Monrovia — The Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) says it will contribute US$75,000 to the National Ebola Task Force set-up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on July 26.

Addressing a news conference on July 28, LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams said the decision was taken after an extraordinary board meeting in which the body agreed to take positive and direct action aimed at curbing the alarming increase of cases of Ebola in Liberia. "We made specific reference to health workers who are sacrificing at the frontlines of this battle and who desperately need and deserve the full support of us all. In buttressing the efforts of the National Ebola Task Force recently set-up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the LPRC family is presenting US$75,000 as part of its corporate social responsibility to be used for preventive gears such as face masks, body suits, latex gloves, foot and head wears for our health workers at medical facilities through the country", Williams said.

Williams, flanked by board chairman Dr. Herman Browne, said "LPRC calls upon all businesses in the public and private sectors, churches, mosques, civil society organizations, women, men and youth groups, political parties and all well-meaning Liberians and foreign partners, to join this fight, which is one of national priority."

"We encourage everyone to unite in this fight, and caution all to take preventive measures, providing awareness and reporting all suspected cases to the nearest medical facility. This is the time for us to be our brothers' keepers". He said the gold and black family is proud to be associated with this national emergency and Tuesday began an internal and external awareness. Rephrasing a line in the national anthem, Williams has declared Ebola as a foe that Liberia must meet with valor unpretending.

"In our efforts to provide additional awareness, the LPRC public relation and medical teams have been mandated to engage in a massive public awareness campaign beginning at the LPRC headquarters and extending to various communities on July 29.

"The LPRC family offers special prayers for the families, relatives and friends of all who have lost loved ones to the Ebola epidemic, and pray that the Almighty God comforts and protects them during this time of their bereavement", MD Williams said.

"May the mercy of God, through his son Jesus Christ, heal this land and provide total restoration to our nation and people. Our national anthem rallies us to unite 'with hearts and hands our country's cause defending... .' And to 'meet the foe (Ebola) with valor unpretending.' Liberians must unite and fight Ebola now! In union strong success is sure. We can't fail," he added.

Finance Ministry'sofficial Patrick Sawyer has been the latest and high profile Liberian casualty. Lagos First Consultants Hospital, where Sawyer was treated in Nigeria but later died, has been temporarily shut down for decontamination. In Sierra Leone, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, who led the fight against Ebola, has died of the disease with government officials hailing the 39-year-old as a "national hero". The government disclosed last week that he was being treated for Ebola and had been quarantined.

His death follows that of prominent Liberian Doctor Samuel Brisbane. Liberia's concentrated its Independence Day on creating more awareness around the virus and greater emphasis is being placed on hygiene in an effort to contain it. People have been wearing protective gloves since Monday but the pandemic has literally shut down Monrovia with the Ministries of Finance and Commerce and Industries; General Services Agency and National Legislature either forced to shut down or maintaining a skeleton staff.

Reports are emerging that the Ministry of Education may be forced to postpone the opening of schools (primary and secondary) for the 2014/2015 calendar year if the outbreak is not contained by September. Background from WHO

Ebola causes severe hemorrhaging and has killed about 60-percent of those who were infected. It is spread by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected animals or people. Those at high risk of infection are family members and others in close contact with sick people and those who have died, and health workers without proper protective equipment.

Ebola can devastate families and communities, but the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, or at home. The outbreak has prompted a major push to contain it by the Ministries of Health, with support from World Health Organization (WHO) and partners.

Not only is it the largest Ebola outbreak to date, but health authorities are concerned because the deadly disease is being transmitted in communities and in health-care settings, and it has appeared in cities as well as rural and border areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 1,201 Ebola cases had been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of the 672 deaths, the highest number was in Guinea with 319, followed by Liberia with 249 and Sierra Leone with 224, it said.

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