Ellen declares national emergency after Ebola outbreak
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has called on Liberians to see the deadly Ebola disease in the country as a national emergency and stop politicizing the issue, stressing that a united front will complement the efforts of government and its partners to successfully fight the virus.
According to the Executive Mansion, President Sirleaf paid a visit to the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 to show solidarity for staff and Nurses there after the death of a staff, who contacted the Ebola virus.
In the wake of a renewed outbreak of the virus in Liberia, the President has expressed government’s commitment to fighting the pandemic. During the visit to the hospital, the President sympathized with the administration, nurses and staff, who are mourning the loss of a colleague, Esther Kesselee.
The Liberian leader also ascertained the state of affairs of the Redemption Hospital relative to its preparedness to cope with influx of patients if the need arises. She paid tribute to the administration, nurses and staff for their courage and sacrifices to the nation and promised government’s fullest support.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently announced a renewed outbreak of the Ebola virus in the New Kru Town vicinity that has claimed the lives of at least seven persons, including a health worker at the Redemption Hospital, who was infected by the virus while attending to a patient.
Speaking earlier, the Assistant Minister of Health for Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, informed President Sirleaf of the challenges faced by health workers in the fight against the outbreak, including fear and denial. He explained that nurses at the Redemption Hospital are seriously shocked by the death of their colleague, which has also affected their passion to work in the wake of fear of being infected by the virus while attending to suspected cases.
Mr. Nyenswah disclosed that based on the demand of health workers since the death of their colleague, the administration has fumigated all the strategic areas at the hospital which has helped to alleviate their fear.
He however highlighted that family members of Ebola victims are posing serious hindrance to the instant burial of these fatalities which is one of the surest ways of prevention. Minister Nyenswah said family members were demanding the remains of dead relatives for burial in keeping with normal traditions, warning that if not curtailed, the practice could hinder prevention efforts.
The World Health Organization Representative to Liberia, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, who provided updates to President Sirleaf on the recent outbreak, agreed with Assistant Minister Nyenswah that government and its partners were not only fighting the Ebola virus but also trying to allay the fear that has caused health workers to sometimes desert patients. He indicated that the Liberian leader’s visit to the hospital was a great motivation to the health workers in dealing with the fear.
Meanwhile, authorities at the James N. Davies Memorial Hospital in Nezoe Community, Paynesville have clarified that the death of 11-year-old Teddy Jimmy, at the hospital recently was not related to the Ebola virus.
Little Teddy Jimmy was a resident of Rehab Community. He was taken to the James N. Davies Memorial Hospital with blood oozing from his body, but was pronounced dead two days later. A laboratory technician at the hospital David Mulbah, told The NewDawn that the remains of the deceased was held for two days for necessary tests to establish whether the death was Ebola related, but they proved negative.
Mulbah said blood oozing from the body is one symptom of the Ebola virus, but all tests performed on the victim showed that he was negative. The laboratory technician however, did not disclose what killed little Teddy. He said family of the deceased has been granted permission to pick up the body for burial.
“If he had died from Ebola then the Government would have kept the body for the safety of the family”, he added.