Despite Liberian Government’s warning and awareness programs to protect Liberians against the spread of Ebola, most Liberians think the government is using Ebola as a springboard to collect money from government’s coffer and from international donors for personal use.
As a result of their doubt about the existence of Ebola, most Liberians do ignore all the measures the Ministry of Health put in place to curb Ebola spread. But after a careful analysis of the measures put in place by the Liberian Government, it was found that almost all the measures are impossible to put up with given the many life inconveniences.
The existence of Ebola in Liberia continues to be doubted because the measures against the spread of Ebola are not observed due to their inconvenient nature and the virus is not widely spreading as Liberians thought it would have. One instance is the case in New Kru Town where an alleged Ebola patient was reported dead and confirmed by Health authorities the person died of Ebola.
Family members of the alleged Ebola victim have dismissed the claim, saying their relative did not die of Ebola. Their argument is that all the measures against the spread of Ebola, were not observed, saying the nurses, and all those who came in contact with the deceased including they, family members would have contracted Ebola if their deceased relative had suffered from the virus.
Another instance where people challenged the measures is the case of locals in River Cess County. At the onset of Ebola’s surfacing in Liberia, the Health Ministry, among some of the measures it put in place was the consumption of bush animals.
Citizens and residents in that part of Liberia refused to accept that bush animals are carriers of Ebola. For this reason, they refused not to eat bush meat. Besides, the people said they can eat bush animals without contracting Ebola, and in fact, they believe Ebola does not exist in their region or county.
Now why the measures are not easily applicable in Liberia is one thing the Health authorities at the Ministry, those in the NGO sector and in the International Community should study. As stated earlier, those measures are inconvenient to the ordinary people because of their way of life.
Liberians live with other people, not their relatives or family members in tight and deplorable dwelling places, where diseases are quickly and easily spread. It is impossible to avoid touching. Liberians ride in cars and buses that pack them like cargoes. Handshake is a tradition that can take place randomly, despite the warning against the danger of handshake, Liberians still shake hands.
Could those Liberians who believe Ebola does not exist in Liberia be correct? To some extent, their doubt seems to be justified, because government does not put itself in a position in which hard proof can be established to convince the people Ebola is in Liberia.
The people, on the other hand, are blaming the Ebola thing on conspiracy theory—if truly Ebola was in existence in Liberia there would have been hundreds if not thousands of deaths. The reason is, in their belief, all the measures aimed at curtailing the spread of Ebola are all violated.
However, those who doubt the existence of Ebola in Liberia or its existence anywhere in the world should rethink their doubt, although their doubt holds some water, because the death tolls are very low or underreported due to lack of decentralization or remoteness of Liberia, ill-equipment, illiteracy rate, etc.
Most of our people would doubt any existence of killer diseases except witchcraft. The unreported cases of thousands of HIV/AIDS in Liberia are very much overlooked, because most Liberians don’t believe HIV/AIDS do exist. Every protective measure is downplayed.
Whether government officials and health authorities and other stakeholders are benefiting from the Ebola’s awareness programs is one thing and the consciousness of Liberians about their health is something we all should take into consideration.
Ebola does exist and is deadly. It is mainly in the remote areas of West Africa, and can spread to cities as a result of movements of the carriers. Our population is small, and the need to strive for longer lifespan cannot be overemphasized. Youths are in majority and they are the future of the nation. Their lifespan should be of grave concern. An unhealthy nation breeds unhealthy, unhappy, unintelligent people and a failed state.
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