...In Ebola Eradication Fight
The Government of Liberia has launched a nationwide “No New Cases Campaign” aimed at eradicating Ebola from Liberia by the end of the year, 2014.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf launched the “Ebola Must Go!! Ebola is Everybody's Business,” campaign at the Christ Kingdom Harvest Church in the New Georgia community on Monday, December 8, 2014.
The Christ Kingdom Harvest Church was selected for its role in helping the community fight the deadly Ebola virus. The community lost a total of 12 persons (five of the Ebola victims). During the period the church organized themselves and with the assistance of the community and went from house-to-house whenever there was a suspected case to find some means to help victims. Today, there are eight persons who survived Ebola in the community; six of them children who lost their parents to Ebola. The church has been able to care for the children survivors.
Speaking during the launch, the Liberian leader said the campaign is a nationwide effort between the Government of Liberia, partners and particularly the people of Liberia to achieve the national goal of “No New Cases” by the end of the year.
She indicated that Liberia has made great progress in stopping Ebola but noted that the disease is still in the country. “We all have to intensify our efforts to travel that very difficult last mile,” she appealed; quoting someone who said, “To go from 100 to 90 is hard but to go from 10 to 0 is even harder.”
The Liberian leader emphasized that through the efforts of the Liberian Government and partners, the disease has retreated to places that are hard-to-reach and some communities across Liberia, especially rural areas, appealing to all to find a way to deal with it. “We must all be committed to say Ebola must go,” she urged.
President Sirleaf stressed that everybody knows that “Ebola Is Real” and we've now passed that stage. “Now we must highlight that “Ebola Must Go”, she said, adding, “This is why I am joining this community that has been such a strong group in fighting Ebola. We are launching it in a place where they have made a difference.”
She urged everyone in Liberia including Government, partners, the United Nations family, Non-Governmental Organizations, churches, mosques, marketers, student organizations, yanna boys, amongst others and this must be done in every county. President Sirleaf admonished residents to take responsibilities in their various communities and noted that they must adhere to and follow the precautions prescribed by healthcare workers.
The Liberian leader prevailed on everyone to make a pledge to fight this Ebola virus. Beginning with herself, she pledged: “I citizen, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, pledge to protect myself, my family and community because Ebola must go and stopping Ebola is everybody's business.”
She praised the efforts of the New Georgia community and termed their fight against Ebola a success story and an effective combination of community leaders, church leaders working with health officials to be able to stop Ebola. “We want to commend you. We want to congratulate you and we're here to honor you.” President Sirleaf said.
The United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative of the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response, Anthony Banbury (UNMEER), speaking at the launch, praised the efforts of the community in helping to fight Ebola, terming the efforts as “inspirational”.
“It's really inspirational to feel the sense of community efforts that exists here in New Georgia. It's also inspirational to see the results of the community to fight Ebola and chase it out of the community – to look after survivors, to care for the sick, to be such a role model for other communities - I'm really inspired by it,” he said.
Mr. Banbury said government and communities must lead the fight that will eventually defeat Ebola. He said partners, including UN agencies, are all making a valuable contribution to the fight, but they are here to support the efforts. “With the leadership of your government and the action of communities, I know you will succeed in chasing Ebola out of Liberia,” he assured.
Speaking earlier, the Coordinator of the Incidence Management System (IMS) of Liberia's Ministry of Health, Tolbert Nyenswah disclosed that the country has passed the dark days and Liberia has made tremendous progress in the fight against the fight against Ebola.
“In September, we didn't have the number of bed space; now, we're fast approaching about 2,000 beds in the country. At the time to test somebody to confirm an Ebola case, we didn't have testing laboratories; today, we have about nine laboratories that perform Ebola tests. In the country a lot of health workers fell prey to the disease and died; today, we've trained over 9,000 health workers in the country that can do proper infection prevention and control,” he enumerated.
Mr. Nyenswah, who is also Assistant Minister for Preventive Services, praised the efforts to both local and international response to the fight against Ebola which has yield incredible results.
He reiterated that all he had said cannot stop Ebola; rather they are mechanisms that the Government and partners have provided as a vehicle to help communities. Mr. Nyenswah said what can stop Ebola is community engagement, community partnership with itself.
Mr. Nyenswah stressed that they were in the New Georgia community to emulate the good example exhibited by them. Since September the community has not reported any new case because of its resilience. “You've already won the war as a community; but for you to reach the finishing line it's everybody's business,” he urged and pleaded with communities to adhere to the pieces of advice as outlined by healthcare workers to ensure the prevention against the Ebola virus disease.
President Sirleaf pledged US$5,000 to the church during the launch; while the UNMEER pledged US$10,000 to the campaign and another US$1,000 to the community.