Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Liberia declared Free from Ebola

Yesterday, Liberia became the first of the three countries at the centre of the Ebola outbreak to have been declared free from the virus, after 42 days of no new cases. In response to the WHO announcement, the government encouraged the country to have a day of celebration, as can be seen in the photos.

This is a truly landmark day for what has been the biggest outbreak of the virus ever. It’s important that we pay our respect to those that have suffered from the disease, and for those who have maintained their strength and composure in battling it. It’s a great day for Liberia, and we hope that the day will come for Sierra Leone very soon.

Unfortunately, that day is not yet here. Schools are back, and the reports are that attendance is picking up from their initial low numbers. At EducAid we were at 80% on our first day, and numbers have been steadily rising since. It’s been an incredibly busy time at EducAid, so we want to say thank you to all of the staff that have made this first few weeks as smooth as it has been.

Today, an Italian nurse operating in Sierra Leone has been confirmed - a severe warning that those still in the firing line of Ebola are still severely at risk.

On a positive note, numbers of new cases have not increased since the schools have opened. This would suggest that, not only have the schools been well-prepared for their re-opening, but also that the general population have learnt the all-important lessons of combatting Ebola on a local level. Those showing symptoms of the virus are being reported quickly, enabling rapid and efficient treatment and quarantine by the Ebola teams still combatting the spread of the virus.

We should draw a lot of hope from the announcement in Liberia – if nothing else, we know that it can be done. The combined effort from the government and NGOs, as well as from the population itself, has enabled the country to eradicate this pervasive and destructive virus. 

Sierra Leone is in a different situation: geographically, it sat in the centre of the three affected countries, and that certainly impeded the efforts to slow the outbreak. For now, we must be patient. We must continue to be cautious, and we must continue to work against the spread of Ebola.

Onwards and upwards for Sierra Leone – our day will come soon.

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