Ellen Declares Ebola pandemic National Emergency, Visits Affected Area


President Sirleaf consoling workers of the Redemption Hospital over the loss of one of their colleagues who died after she came in contact with another Ebola victim

In the wake of a renewed outbreak of Ebola virus in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed government’s commitment to fight the pandemic.

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.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader had gone to the Redemption Hospital on the Bushrod Island to sympathize with the administration, nurses and staff there who are mourning the loss of their colleague, Esther Kesselee, and at the same time ascertain the state of affairs at the hospital relative to its preparedness to cope with an influx of patients if the need arises.

At the hospital, President Sirleaf said she was visiting them to pay tribute to the administration, nurses and staff for their courage and sacrifices to the nation and promised government’s fullest support for their service to the country.

She called on all Liberians to see the Ebola pandemic as a national emergency and stop politicizing it as it’s only a united front that will complement the efforts of government and its partners to successfully fight the virus.

Speaking earlier, the Assistant Minister of Health for Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, informed President Sirleaf of the challenges faced by the health workers in the fight against the outbreak including fear and denial.

He explained that the nurses at the Redemption Hospital are seriously traumatized by the death of their colleague which has also affected their zealousness to work as they 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.

One challenge Mr. Nyenswah highlighted was that family members of the dead victims are posing serious hindrance to the instant burial of these fatalities which is one of the surest ways of prevention. He said family members were demanding the remains of their dead relatives for burial in keeping with normal traditions which he said if not curtailed will also hinder the prevention efforts.

The Representative of the World Health Organization, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, who provided updates to the Liberian President 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.

The WHO Representative, on behalf of the United Nations family, renewed its commitment to partnering with Liberia in the fight against the virus.


Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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