Sadly, after being declared Ebola-free on May 9, following days with no new infections, Liberia is again recording cases of Ebola, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
“Though disappointing, the re-emergence of Ebola in Liberia is not altogether unexpected,” says Carissa Guild, medical manager of MSF programs in Liberia.
“The risk of new cases still exists as long as the virus is present in the region.”
The virus was detected in the swab of a deceased 17-year-old boy on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia.
For now, MSF is running a 69-bed paediatric hospital in Monrovia to help restore the secondary health system. In the grounds of the hospital, MSF also runs a clinic specifically for Ebola survivors who suffer from a number of health complications following their recovery.
“Going from hundreds of cases to 30 per week took considerable time and massive resources, yet getting from 30 to zero requires the most meticulous, difficult work of all,” says Dr Joanne Liu, International President of MSF.
“No one was prepared for the scale of this epidemic, the largest in human history, nor that it would last so long. But we cannot lose focus now and must push on until the entire region is declared Ebola free.”
Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf calls the role of communities in the fight against Ebola “a big lesson for all of us in leadership”.
“Our communities rose to the challenge. They took ownership. Together, with the right resources and the right education of how to handle the sick, and the deaths, we overcame. Our leadership, not only from you, from the church too, put together with our communities, made for a formidable force,” says Sirleaf.
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