Re-emphasizing the Media’s Role in Renewed Ebola Fight
Since the recent resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, fears continue to grow among the population about the high possibility of the spread of the disease.
Health Ministry authorities have reported that that the cases stand at two since the renewed Nedowein Town outbreak in Margibi County, while others, including twelve health workers, are reportedly quarantined. Deployed tracing teams are also reported to be in search of those who may have one way or the other been in contact with the two Ebola cases.
While the Ministry of Health must be appreciated for the information provided in the renewed Ebola situation through the regular press briefings of the Ministry of Information, the role of the Liberia media as was in the previous outbreak must again take its course.
Such media role must entail going beyond just what the health Ministry reports to the Liberian public daily, i.e., information provided by the ministry must also compel media institutions to go further, especially on the spot as a way building upon previous information provided by Health Ministry authorities.
This, in view of the foregoing, would detail the entire Ebola situation in the Margibi County area, adding on to what the ministry had presented.
Let it be made emphatically clear that this recommended challenge/role of the Liberian media does not - in any manner and form – circumvent , discredit or undermine information given daily by the Health Ministry, but for the population to see the media as a practical and serious participant in the fight against Ebola and not just a mere conduit of information.
What the challenges faced by the media may be understood, especially in this direction, it is still possible to utilize the available resources – cameras, recorders, transportation, etc., etc., at the highest level of the media to brave the storm in reaching out to Margibi County.
Amid the confusing situation regarding the source(s) of the renewed outbreak, as well as reports that those reportedly quarantined, especially in the Nedowein and ‘Smell-No-Taste Communities are still interacting/transacting with others, including petite traders with any restriction, it now becomes a serious challenge for verification of both to allay the fears of the population.
Towards this end, the media would even be of help to the Ministry of Health by further identifying more cases not only in Margibi County, but elsewhere in adjacent counties, including Monrovia- a place of most of our main transactions.
Again, such role of the media must not - in any negative manner or form – be misinterpreted in any quarter of the Liberian Society, but considered as a boost to efforts by the Government of Liberia, through the Health Ministry, in the fight against Ebola.
As we commend the County health Team of Margibi, Ministry of Health’s Incident Management Team and partners for the rapid approach to the disease this time around, the issues regarding our “national foot soldiers” or health workers must be resolved – whether risk or whatever benefits. The government must “swallow all of the bitter pills” in the supreme interest of the people to – once and for all – settle the problems with health workers so that our country is not held hostage by such simple matter.