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Can Liberia be Completely Ebola Free Nation?

April 2015

As the deadly Ebola disease seems to be gradually leaving Liberia, residents in the country have mixed views. Some people believe that the ebola virus has a long history of repeatedly visiting previously affected countries. They argue that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example. Since the first case of the virus was discovered in 1976, more than four outbreaks have been reported in Congo. On the opposite view, most of the Liberians, especially those regarding themselves as religious people, considered the virus outbreak as a punishment from God to teach residents of the nation the consequences of sins. These groups believe that wickedness has increased over the years in Liberia. According to them, too many killings for riches, homosexualism, and rampant corruption are some of the things that made God annoyed to send this deadly virus to Liberia. In January 2015, it can be recalled that President Sirleaf refers to corruption as vampire during her nationwide address before the Legislature. So, they strongly believe that Ebola can never return to Liberia when the residents of the nation repent from doing ugly things against the will of God.

Whatever the case, health authority and experts in disaster management continues to caution the residents of Liberia to follow those safety methods like constant washing of hands, avoiding handshakes and eating bush meat among others as the way forward to preventing the widespread of the virus. Though they did not accept or reject the views of people in the nation, they believe that when the residents of Liberia follow these simple sanitary methods the nation might not experience another outbreak of ebola virus.

According to statistical updates of ebola on Liberia, the World Health Organization situation summary report to – date claims that 4,573 people have died in Liberia. Of this number, 3,151 people were confirmed positive.  Whatever the situation, the article is concern with the relative reduction in ebola cases and whether the country can maintain such stable reduction status even if she is declared ebola free in may 2015. This concern is back with common cultural and traditional practices among people of the three regional nations- Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. These countries have porous borders which allow any person to easily cross on any side of the region without security checkout. For example, some people in Liberia carryout farms’ activity across the border into Guinea while most of the citizens along the Sierra Leone border often reportedly visit Liberia for clinical services. As Liberia is reporting no new case, there are still reports of new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone. This indicates that Liberia is still not save from the virus even thought all of her Treatment centers don’t have ebola patients currently. On one of my tours to ETUs, a nurse at the China ETU in the yard of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex agreed that there was no ebola patients in the unit but clarified that only two patients were admitted for different sicknesses.

Whether Liberia can be completely free from the Ebola virus or not depends on the daily interactions of residents in the country with their friends in Sierra Leone and Guinea. As normal activities are gradually picking-up in the country, most residents seem to forget the ugly event of the virus so soon. Most people are now not following the safety methods anymore. Beside some schools and few institutions and business entities, 95% percent of homes no more have ebola buckets for washing hands. Most people have gradually returned to handshakes, hugging and conducting cultural and traditional rituals. Moreover, citizens in the three regions are also gradually resuming cross border trade forgetting to know that only one affected woman reportedly crossed into Lofa County, Liberia with the virus which destroyed many lives. However, the government is still advising her citizens not to relax the preventive and safety methods so soon for the benefits of all in the country.