The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says while it is understandable that countries not affected by the Ebola outbreak may take measures to protect their citizens, they should heed the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations which do not support travel or trade restrictions on Liberia and other countries hit by the Ebola virus. Continue reading
At least 500 people have died from the virulent Ebola virus disease in Liberia since the outbreak in March 2014, according to health officials, and two human right based organizations, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) and the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) have alarmed.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia last Thursday (Aug 21) in Monrovia, the two organizations lauded the government and partners for the efforts so far in containing the virus, but said it was spreading fast.
“…Despite measures announced by the government of Liberia and commitments by the international community, we are deeply troubled by the increase in new cases of Ebola and Ebola related deaths in communities far beyond areas where the virus initially broke out,” they said in a statement. Continue reading
About 10 houses in the Ebola quarantined township of West Point have been destroyed by sea erosion, less than three months ago when scores of homes were swept away by similar disaster.
In June, severe sea erosion left several people homeless with valuable properties lost in New Kru Town and West Point Communities.
One of the affected persons of the latest incident, Madam Cynthia Wolue, told the Liberia News Agency Monday that the erosion started about 4:00 a.m. and washed away her six-bedroom house. Continue reading
A high-level delegation of U.S. medical experts and emergency responders, led by Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden, is in Liberia to see firsthand the impact of the Ebola outbreak, to assess response activities, and to hear from government officials, international partners, and health care workers in West Africa to see what can be done to stop the disease.
Liberia is the first stop on CDC Director Frieden’strip to the region, which will also take him to Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Dr. Frieden is accompanied by Dr. Tom Kenyon, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health, and Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).They arrived in Monrovia on August 24.
Dr. Frieden held a one-on-one meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, and later met with most of the members of Liberia’s National Task Force on Ebola, including President Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph Boakai, President Pro Temp of the Senate Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House Gbehzohngar Findley and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Francis S. Korkpor. Key members of the Cabinet and Senators and Representatives also attended the meeting. The discussion centered on the key challenges facing Liberia as it tries to curtail the spread of the disease.
The U.S. delegation led by Dr. Friedenwill also meet this week with Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, Liberian health care workers and tour hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated, as well as tour a laboratory operated by the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR) and a mobile lab, which the U.S. Government sent to Liberia last week to improve Ebola specimen testing.
CDC Director Frieden will also hold talks this week with high-level UN officials to hear about the international community’s response to the crisis.
On August 24, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), sent more than 16 tons of medical equipment and emergency supplies to Liberia, including:
- 10,000 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
- Two water treatment units and two water portable water tanks, capable of holding 10,000 liters of water each;
- 100 rolls of plastic sheeting, which can used in the construction of Ebola treatment centers
The supplies will be distributed in partnership with the Liberian government, World Food Program (WFP), and local partners to places of need around Liberia.
On August 23, a cargo plane—funded by UNICEF and the DART— landed in Monrovia, carrying more than 40 tons of chlorine and 400,000 pairs of medical gloves.
A team of laboratory experts from CDC, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases is working with Liberia to set up laboratories and train more laboratory workers to expand laboratory capacity to conduct more efficient and quicker Ebola testing.
Also, members of the DART have made several assessment trips and met with officials with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to determine how and where to expand the number of Ebola treatment centers in the country.
On August 5, USAID deployed the DART to Monrovia, Liberia and Conakry, Guinea to oversee the U.S. Government’s regional response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. On August 18, the DART announced it was sending additional staff to Sierra Leone to work with non-governmental organizations and U.N. agencies on the ground. Monrovia, Liberia is the regional hub for the U.S. government’s Ebola response activities. The DART now comprises 27 staffacross various U.S. government agencies, including USAID, CDC, the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Forest Service.
In the first two weeks of August, CDC increased its staff in the region to battle Ebola. There are currently more than 65 CDC disease-control experts working in West Africa: 27 in Sierra Leone, 21 in Liberia,15 in Guinea and 6 in Nigeria.These experts are providing technical expertise to national public health agencies in the region to help prevent, detect, and stop the spread of Ebola.
Since the Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has committed more than $14.5 million to the response. The funding has been used to provide more technical experts, PPE, health supplies, field laboratories and diagnostic capacity, training, and public service messaging campaigns, among other things.
In the early stages of the Ebola outbreak, the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the office in charge of countering weapons of mass destruction, and the U.S. State Department also provided PPE to the Liberian government, including surgical gowns, sets of protective coveralls, boxes of protective gloves, and decontamination hand sprayers. The CDC and DTRA also sent in several teams of infectious disease experts to assist Liberian authorities to test Ebola specimens, track Ebola patients and their contacts, and to develop public awareness campaigns to try to stop the spread of the disease.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has recommitted government’s efforts to contain the Ebola Virus Disease in the country, the Health Ministry said Monday.
Meeting wit health officials, the Liberian leader said frantic efforts are being made, with support from partners, to ensure that people and communities affected by the virus are provided the needed care and support.
President Johnson-Sirleaf spoke on Sunday during the Ebola County Response Consultative Meeting in Monrovia with County Health Officers, Superintendents and Technical partners.
The Liberian Leader, however, stressed that the Ebola situation should not be turned into a humanitarian crisis because Liberians are striving to be a self-sufficient people.
On messaging, President Johnson-Sirleaf called for Ebola messages to be simple, clear, and standardized in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare so that our people can make informed decisions about their health.
Also speaking during the workshop, consultants from WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, lauded the efforts of government in interrupting the transmission of the virus but emphasized that messages of hope should be developed and disseminated to the public on Ebola.
They also said that infected persons should get the needed treatment and care to help them recover from the disease. Other speakers included Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, Health Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale, workshop participants, and partners who called for practical steps and community engagements in addressing the Ebola crisis in Liberia.
The two day consultative workshop was organized by the Ebola Incident Management Committee to orientate counties on the various components for an effective response system, finalize county Ebola Task Force, and discuss common challenges and mitigation actions.
Meanwhile, WHO Assistant Director-General, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, has re-assured the government and people of Liberia of WHO’s commitment and support in bringing the Ebola virus under control.
Experts from Uganda, Congo Democratic Republic, UNICEF, WHO, MSF, Red Cross, CDC and other partners are in the country to support efforts by government and partners in containing the spread of the Ebola virus.
Also in the country is the Director of the Center for Disease Control, Tom Frieden who will hold discussion with Health and Social Welfare Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale. Dr. Frieden will hold a press conference on Tuesday at 9:30 AM at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Ebola spreads through physical contact with a victim of the disease. The virus also spreads through: sweat, saliva, blood, by touching the vomit or urine of somebody who is sick with Ebola. Avoid touching dead bodies or body fluids or materials of infected Ebola persons. Seeking early treatment improves a person chance of recovery. Make use of the hotline number where the public can call to get Ebola-related information. The number is 4455.
The West African Journalists Association (WAJA) has extended its condolences and solidarity with the governments and peoples in the sub-region affected by the Ebola outbreak, and calls on the media to double its support in fighting back the virus.
WAJA says the media is under social and ethical obligation to serve the greater good of humanity in these critical times of heightened fear of death caused by the rapid spread of the disease in the region. Continue reading
Liberia’s key opposition political party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) says it is seeking audience with the government to discuss strategies to jointly fight the Ebola virus.
Ebola outbreak first engulfed the country May has claimed at 500 lives, creating great terror among the population. The government has since imposed a state of emergency and curfew as well as quarantined several communities and regions to halt the relentless spread of the virus.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia over the weekend, CDC Secretary-General Nathaniel McGill said the party is concerned about the fight against the virus and therefore will support every initiative by the government that will not interfere with the citizens’ rights. Continue reading
There is a probable Ebola case in Gbarpolu County involving a female, County Health Officer (CHO), Dr. Anthony Tucker, has confirmed.
He told the Liberia News Agency Sunday that the female suspected of the Ebola disease fled a holding center in Monrovia after her husband died of the virus.
He disclosed that the woman, who is currently in Kparwolozu in Belle District, has shown probable signs and symptoms of Ebola. Continue reading
Brussels Airlines confirms its intention to continue to serve Liberia with connections to the world via Brussels – and informs its esteemed clientele that, due to operational reasons, the timing of its flight service between Monrovia Roberts and Brussels Airport will change.
Starting from the 15th of August, Brussels Airlines flights will operate according to the following schedule: Continue reading
Five persons, including a senior police officer, were Friday found guilty of unlawful possession of narcotics and criminal facilitation by the Criminal Court “C” of the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
It took the Petit Jurors of four females and two males at least two hours of deliberation to unanimously find Police Officer Perry Dolo, Mohammed Bah, Augustine Saah, Sekou Rogers and Cyrus Slawon, guilty of the crimes, according to the Liberia News Agency.
It will be recalled the five were arrested with 10 bags of marijuana valued at L$3 million at the Tienne checkpoint in Grand Cape Mount County using a police presidential escort vehicle at 2:00 a.m. on November 9, 2013.
Following police preliminary investigation during which the accused denied the charges levied against them, the trial began at the Criminal Court “C” early this year.
During closing argument earlier, lead prosecutor Theophilus Gould told the jurors “to put the country first” and come up with a guilty verdict, because “these guys are guilty of the crimes.”
Defense Counsel Arthur Johnson cautioned the jurors not to be carried away by others’ sentiments, but to find the accused not guilty because “there were no evidences to find them guilty.”
Presenting the case to the jurors for deliberation, Judge Yusuf Kaba, told them not to be moved by the presentations of both prosecution and defense lawyers, but peruse the documents and other evidence “very closely” and render a judgment shy of partiality.
However, after two hours of deliberation in the jury room, the jurors came down with a unanimous verdict against all the defendants.
While Counselor Gould hailed the verdict, on the other hand, Atty. Johnson said that his clients’ rights were violated during police investigation into the case, adding that the defense team will meet to decide the next course of action in the interest of their clients.
Meanwhile, Judge Kaba has said final verdict in the case will be rendered on Thursday, August 14, 2014.