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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says latest statistics on the Ebola virus disease indicate that there have been only 26 new deaths across the country with most fatalities occurring in Montserrado County.
She also revealed that as of December 2, 2014, nine of Liberia's 15 counties have reported no deaths in recent times, a drastic decline compared to previous reports.
“We owe it first and foremost to God, our healthcare workers – doctors, nurses, physician assistants, those who serve in the treatment units, the many who died, the Liberian people themselves – the thousands and thousands of them who embraced the treatment protocol, as well as the various groups - joint church, non-governmental organizations, women and youth, among others - who went out in the communities on awareness programmes. We owe it to them,” the Liberian President told the congregation.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the disclosure when she addressed the prayer service for the Executive Branch of Government at the old Providence Baptist Church on Broad Street officiated by the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) on Friday, December 5, 2014.
The weekly prayer service is to thank God for his bountiful mercies to the country and to pray to God for deliverance from the Ebola virus disease. Already the Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government have separately graced the LCC prayer service.
Providing an update on the fight against the disease, the Liberian leader said of the several Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) built across the country, more than 50 percent of the beds are empty. She said though there were initial plans to build 17 ETUs across the country, this plan is being scaled down.
Though President Sirleaf said that progress is being made in the fight, she cautioned that the job is not finished; rather Liberians need to keep up the precaution.
“We need to continue the awareness; we need to strengthen the communities even more that have taken on the responsibility and the obligation to do the contact tracing, to respond to those who are quarantined. We need to encourage and work with them. Those groups that have been working in the communities, we want to encourage them to continue to do so,” she urged, warning that Liberians cannot put their guard down because progress is never concluded until the experts, the World Health Organization, say the country is Ebola free and Liberia hasn't reached there yet.
The Liberian leader stressed that the next step in the fight against Ebola is to rebuild the country's regular healthcare facilities across the country so that when those who get sick go to a clinic or hospital they will be able to take proper treatment.
She also stressed that Government has to continue with its economic recovery program to fight poverty, adding, “When people have jobs and an income they are in a better position to take care of their sanitation and personal hygiene, which are necessary to fight this disease.”
The Liberian leader expressed confidence that with God's mercy and where he brought the country from in the fight against Ebola, it was her strong conviction though quite ambitious that Liberia could be Ebola free by Christmas.
Concluding her message, President Sirleaf requested the congregation to stand for a moment of silence and say a prayer in honor of all the victims of the Ebola virus disease.
“As we memorialize those who are dead, let us also make a commitment to reach out and to show to somebody who's sick, not necessarily with Ebola, but who's in need or hungry,” she urged, adding, “As Liberians approach the Christmas season, we should remember them and continue to pray to God to give us the strength and courage to keep up what we're doing and to show gratitude to him for his blessings.”
During the service, prayers were offered for the nation, especially the Executive Branch and the people of Liberia, while the choirs of the Providence Baptist Church and the Soul Cleansing Clinic of Jesus Christ offered melodious songs of praise and worship.
In remarks, Rev. Dr. Korto Brown blessed God “for what our eyes see, what our ears hear”, noting that God is in control and he will be glorified. He noted that during the past few months, it has been a tough time, but God is tougher.
Dr. Brown predicted that God will uplift Liberia and urged President Sirleaf to take courage. He noted that there will be a lot of trials and tribulations, but urged Madam President: “Don't give up. Keep going on. God will glorify his name in Liberia.”
He urged all Liberians to adhere to the preventive measures as indicated by health care authorities so that very soon the country will be Ebola free.