President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Heads Ebola Task Force

Monrovia, Liberia
by E. Julu Swen

The President of the Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a prominent United Methodist, is now heading the Task Force for the fight against the Ebola virus in Liberia. President Sirleaf made the announcement on July 26 in Monrovia during festivities marking the celebration of Liberia’s Independence Day. The Ebola virus has already claimed more than 124 lives including the lives of health workers.

President Sirleaf has declared the fight against Ebola a national emergency and called on all Liberians, religious leaders and traditional leaders to second individuals to the Task Force for immediate action. “We all need to get involved in spreading preventive messages about protecting nation,” the President asserted.

The President’s latest action comes after the death from Ebola of a highly placed government official, Patrick Sawyer, and a renowned medical doctor, Samuel Brisbane. According to reports, both Sawyer and Brisbane contracted the virus and died while caring for others who were afflicted.

On July 25, 2014, the National Health Worker’s Association of Liberia released a statement in which the organization indicated that seven health workers were afflicted by the Ebola virus, while several others were on the suspected and probable Ebola case lists. The statement was released barely 13 days after the association held a memorial service for eight of its members who had earlier died from the Ebola virus while caring for other Liberians.

In its release, the health worker association also requested friendly nations, donors, and the international community to send supplies of protective gear instead of cash to the Liberian government or any institution.

Plastic Bucket @ the entrance of public places & private homes
A plastic bucket at the entrance to a private home. Sanitizing stations like this one are now at the entrances of all public buildings and most homes.

Meanwhile, the entire nation has stepped up its preventive measures campaign by ensuring that there are sanitizing facilities at all public places and even at the doors of private homes. The National Legislature has shut down its operations requesting only essential staff to report to work, while the Liberia Football Association has indefinitely suspended football activity in the country. Elsewhere in the country, similar measures are being taken by health workers and provisional authorities.

In Ganta City, Nimba County, the United Methodist Hospital staff is leading the City Task Force in tracing and containing all those who made contact with the two persons who died recently from the Ebola virus. According to administrator of the Ganta UMC Hospital, Mr. Victor Taryor, twelve persons have been placed under surveillance for fear of coming in contact with the dead victims. He said the hospital is in need of protective gear and if possible testing equipment for people who will come to the hospital. “Our staff are turning people away because of the lack of protective gears and testing equipment for immediate verification and treatment,” Mr. Taryor added.

 

(Photos by Julu Swen)

Kid caught by the camera
A child investigating the new sanitizing station at a home.
Visitor caught on camera washing hands before entering the home
Visitor caught on camera washing hands before entering a home in Monrovia, Liberia.