Liberia has been chosen to lead regional efforts in the Mano River Union basin comprising Guinea and Sierra Leone aimed at eradicating the deadly Ebola virus disease that has killed thousands and decimated the socioeconomic fabrics of the region.
Dr. Emmanuel Dolo, Head of the Secretariat of the Presidential Advisory Council on Ebola (PACE), told newsmen in Monrovia Tuesday that the country was recently selected by Sierra Leone and Guinea to draft a strategy on stamping out the pandemic in the region in 60 days period.
He said, the objective of the strategy dubbed as “Getting to and staying at Zero”, seeks to develop and implement an integrated and Ebola response framework.
Dr. Dolo who recently headed a Liberian delegation to Sierra Leone and Guinea to discuss a regional approach in tackling the disease which has ruined the sub-region, said the strategy also seeks to deepen community engagement, improved quality of active surveillance and ensure cross border collaboration among countries of the MRU in the fight against the outbreak.
However, he said the success of implementing the plan largely depends on political will of governments of the three countries hard-hit by the epidemic since 2014.
He said the support of international donor partners is highly critical if the ambitious plan to eradicate Ebola from the region is to become a reality in sixty days.
Dr. Dolo said despite the drastic declining infection rate of the disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, there is a need for people to continue to adhere to preventive measures spelled out by medical authorities.
Making specific reference to Liberia, Dr. Emmanuel Dolo said some people in Liberia are allowing complacency to stand in the way of final push to raid the country of the Ebola virus that has killed about 3,000 people here.
He said some members of the public have even relaxed preventive measures outlined by medical authorities in the fight of the virus.
He named the hiding of dead bodies in homes by some community residents, and sick relatives, movement of people across countries and borders, lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs) in some medical centers, or clinics and poor disposal of medical wastes as key drivers why Liberia continues to struggle with the disease.
Journalists call to action
Mr. Dolo who delivered a PowerPoint presentation on Tuesday, called on the Liberian media to continue to report and disseminate information about the presence of Ebola.
He said journalists in the country continue to play pivotal role in the fight against the disease, and asked them to continue partnering with the government and partners in the final push to kick off the virus.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services and head of the Incident Management System on Ebola, Tolbert Nyenswah, says Liberia will only manage to finally kick out the virus if each citizen acts in a responsible, that is, by following preventive measures against the disease.