...JPC, FIND Frown
The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) and Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) say the use of force by state security to ensure that citizens comply with government's measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus is counterproductive.
In a press statement read by JPC acting Director, Pilate Johnson, at a news conference Thursday, the two groups claimed that the use of force by state security would “exacerbate an already fragile situation and cause citizens to resist these measures.”
JPC and FIND said while they agree that there must be some stringent measures to adequately combat the Ebola virus, however, they maintained that the use of force is not in the best interest of the people.
The groups said survey they conducted depicts that when the communities are consulted and involved in the process, the fight will be holistic.
They made reference to residents of Geewloh in Mount Barclay, Montserrado County where they (residents) voluntarily quarantined their community after 13 residents reportedly died from Ebola.
“Government has admitted to being overwhelmed by the outbreak of the Ebola disease which has been demonstrated by the delays in responding to Ebola related cases in Monrovia alone, where it takes days for bodies to be recovered, and these new measures will only put more strain on the already scarce resources of government and additional burden on an already impoverished citizenry,” the two groups said in the statement.
They recommended broad base consultation with affected communities in dealing with the spread of the deadly virus as opposed to using force or military presence.
The two groups said government must seek to win the hearts and minds of its citizens rather than impose authority by force.
They also said the establishment of treatment centers should involve the consultation and participation of community dwellers to avoid the repeat of the West Point scenario where the residents attacked and looted an Ebola holding center.
The two groups, among other things, recommended the establishment of community based task force to reduce the response time to Ebola related cases.
“We encourage government to review some of the measures already taken, many of which tend to undermine its efforts to deal with the outbreak; for instance the deployment of the military and police around affected communities to compel community residents to follow the necessary safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus,” they noted.