The role of the Liberian Government in the fight against the Ebola virus has been condemned by a Human Rights group in Monrovia. The group said response to the Ebola epidemic is erratic, haphazard, ineffectual, and marred in high-level propaganda and misinformation which is responsible for the unprecedented levels of infection as well as unending death tolls in the country. According to the group calling itself the Liberia Rights and Development Advocacy Network (LiRDAN), a consortium of rights advocacy organizations, the lukewarm response of the Liberian Government towards the early signs of the outbreak when it was first reported along the border with Guinea gives rise to the second wave of the outbreak which has now taken an epidemic level.
The rights group also said the role of the government in tackling the Ebola virus was unprofessional and ill-timed. “Up to date and amidst huge international support, the government through the National Task Force is still grappling with the issues of testing centers, the creation of isolation centers and a health response process that is paralyzed and ineffective due to inadequate ambulances and the closure of several health centers,” the release said.
The group attributed the high rate of Ebola deaths to earlier missed messages that were delivered by key government officials. “The Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn and Information Minster Lewis Brown while acknowledging the death of five Ebola victims in Lofa County, Liberia refused to tell the nation that the Ebola virus was officially in the country,” LiRDAN asserted. The human rights group further said the much talked about “citizens’ denial” was and is enforced by earlier statements and the way in which the Government of Liberia is handling the Ebola crisis.
Meanwhile tension is brewing at most of the government operated health centers regarding the payment of salaries and other benefits to health workers. Sources told WAW that health workers at various Ebola treatment units throughout the country are demanding contractual agreement between them and the Government of Liberia.