Eradicating Ebola: Looking Inside From Outside-The Int’l Dimension

June 10, 2015

 

        The nation and people did not see Ebola coming, despite learning from report of its presence in a neighboring country; even after it was spotted in the northern part of the country (Liberia), still the depth of the fiercely roaring disaster did not claim the focus and rapid attention until the entire nation became overwhelmed by the virus. As Gus D. Jaeploe writes; when things got overheated and the simmering ripples began to chill the international community, it became glaring that the raging menace was no longer an exclusive health crisis for Liberia, but was now crossing borders and knocking on the doors of some big and most powerful western nations-then the alarm blew, and powerful nations realized that “when oil touches one finger, it is very possible of spreading to the rest of the fingers”. Indeed, Ebola has proven to have no fear for race, color, creed, status, culture nor does it know borders or discriminate against human life.

Again, while Liberians are being consistently and persistently reminded not to be complacent realizing the downward trend in the Ebola cases, which is also a welcoming sign of progress in eradicating Ebola, they should equally shy away from being branded as people who remember nothing.

With Ebola being around close to nine months of which three of the nine months (July, August & September) were the worse of time witnessing an alarming escalation in the death rate and massive spread of the virus affecting several thousands; it can now be said that the tide is changing and the nation and people are now breathing a sigh of relief.

At the same time, cognizant of their global responsibility to serve as brothers’ keeper in times of grave calamity plaguing certain segment and people of the common global village we all share, some members of the international community including their allies and financial institutions had to roll up their sleeves and join the fray to quell the danger and damage unleashed by the deadly Ebola Disease in the four hard-hit African countries- Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Lone and now Mali

Despite the positive response from the clarion call passionately made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf which has realized goodwill transformed into the pool of genuine cooperation, abundant donations of anti-Ebola materials coupled with a huge volume of medical experts, vast resources and technologically-driven equipment, the international community is far from being satisfied until the dreadful virus is completely eradicated from all the badly affected West African countries.

Under such prevailing canopy, the message to totally purge the affected countries of Ebola continues to reverberate across so many borders making it crystal clear that those powerful, rich and sophisticated countries will not be at ease and safe once Ebola remains a horrifying perpetual health crisis in those hard-hit nations.

Based on the global challenge to collectively and robustly fight and eradicate the Ebola scourge from these countries and ensure that it ceases to further spread to other places, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power sounded a caveat on October 30, 2014 in a soul-searching speech delivered at the German Marshall Fund on the International Response to the Ebola Crisis in Brussels.

The Ambassador in her deliberation painting a troubling picture of a character she met in Liberia during her tour to the affected West African countries. She began with these lines: “On September 18th, six weeks ago today (Oct.30, 2014) the United Nations Security Council held its first-ever emergency meeting on a health crisis”.

Ambassador Power continues: “A Liberian man named Jackson Naimah spoke to the Council via video link from Liberia. Jackson works for Médecins Sans Frontières, and is a team leader in one of MSF’s Ebola treatment centers in Monrovia. He told the Council that he had lost a niece and a cousin to the virus – both of them nurses infected at work. He said that, as he was speaking to us, sick people were outside the gates of the MSF clinic, begging to be let in and treated. MSF had to turn them away, because they had no more beds. Jackson said, “I feel that the future of my country is hanging in the balance. If the international community does not stand up, we will be wiped out.”

With the international Community looking inside from outside in its quest to eradicating Ebola from the region, Power presented another grim reflection of what is obtaining in the affected countries by saying, “you all are familiar with the statistics of what Ebola has done to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. More than 10,000 people infected. More than 5,000 people killed, nearly 250 of them health professionals. More than 4,000 children orphaned”.

The US envoy said given these stark facts, “I’m especially grateful to you all for coming. The size of the crowd here is a testament to the growing concern around the world about Ebola”.

She furthered having just returned from travelling to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; I have two simple messages for you. First, the international community is not yet doing enough to stem the tide of the epidemic, causing devastating heartbreak to countless families and allowing a global threat to metastasize. Second, based on what I saw, the contributions that have been made by the United States and many of the countries represented here have begun to save lives and offer the first tangible signs that this virus can and will be beaten.

Indeed, the joint-efforts have broken some fresh grounds with progress in the Ebola fight especially in Liberia where the once terrifying and alarming cases have taken a gradual downward trend thereby reinvigorating the courage and hope of the citizens and hardworking international partners that come  what may, the writing on the wall reads that EBOLA MUST GO!
Again, without missing her words, she noted “we stand at a historic juncture. We face the greatest public health crisis ever. And we each have the opportunity to work together in support of the brave and determined people of the region to bend the chilling curve of Ebola’s spread and to end the devastation and suffering that it has wrought. To beat this virus and to produce the seismic shift upon which the lives of an entire generation in West Africa depend, we each have to dig deeper, and we each must conquer the fears that this epidemic has generated”.

Upon the arrival of 3,000 US troops as promised by President Barack H. Obama to beef up the gallant force battling the tormentor on the ground to help chase Ebola out of Liberia; a drive that’s making fruitful headway, President Sirleaf said she hopes the decision by the United States will encourage the rest of the international community to take action, noting, “Our American Partners realized that Liberia cannot defeat the virus alone.”

According to her, the people of Liberia have suffered greatly since the disease took hold, but that Liberians are strong and resilient people, saying, “As president, I will not rest until we defeat Ebola.”

Browsing the pages of true friends and reliable partners, we proudly say hats off to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China who have been among the many partners that have immensely contributed cash, medical experts and essential anti-Ebola materials to the fight that is well on the way of eradicating the virus from Liberia. Japan has also pumped in massive assistance while the Nigerian Government recentlysent74 healthcare workers-nurses and doctors while the African Union dispatched 200 medical personnel to the affected countries. Cuba, a country of just 11 million people, has already sent over 250 health care workers, and 200 more are on the way.

Also the European Union members announced a campaign to rally 1 billion euros in support to pay for the Ebola response, including the construction of facilities to care for patients. Countries have already pledged some 600 million euros in support, a promising sign of the commitment of EU member states. EU members have also come together to offer critical medical, air, evacuation support to international health care workers who contract Ebola, a vital assurance to those working on the frontlines to end the outbreak that they will not be left behind.

Prior to the outbreak, Liberia had approximately 50 doctors for the entire country of 4.3 million people. That’s around one doctor for every 100,000 people. Sierra Leone had two doctors for every 100,000 people. The United Kingdom, by contrast, has 279 doctors per 100,000 people. France has 318. Germany: 380. The hospital where the American doctor infected with Ebola was being treated in New York has 1,200 physicians on staff – more than 24 times the number of doctors in all of pre-Ebola Liberia.

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In Times Like These

June 10, 2015

            

Considering how this Ebola scourge has pierced every fabric of our country to the extent of shaking the very foundation of the core values of society; it is incumbent upon every Liberian more than ever before to collectively; despite status, fame, doctrine or selfish-motive and obligation, to form a united front and battle from toe to tooth in order to save this glorious land of liberty from the dreadful attack of the invisible and silent enemy that has forcefully cowed this nation to submit to the intensive care unit of dilemma.

As the world has seen and realized that what is obtaining in Liberia in particular, and Sierra Leone and Guinea in general is no longer an isolated phenomenon driven by fear rather a vivid fact of human tragedy propels by the dangerous crusading Ebola virus now clearly branded threat to global security; we on the home front must sober up and ensue that Ebola is defeated and kicked out of Liberia.

Vivid writing on the wall has shown that it can be and with the level of cooperation, support and total involvement of friendly countries and our partners in progress; yes indeed we can win. In times like these all focus should be placed on mounting a fierce fight that will make the ground very hot that Ebola will not find a breathing space. In times like these, make no mistake that this is our fight and be it under thunder, lightning, rain or fire victory is certain that Ebola will be defeated.

GDJ

Transforming Crisis Into Opportunity

June 10, 2015

 

   

By Gus D. Jaeploe

With deep-rooted determination and unwavering focus amidst tons of misguided criticisms coupled with condemnations propelled by small-mindedness in the age and time of our country, saddled with the  Ebola scourge-a menace totally foreign to our ‘problem solving think-tank’; the President of Liberia, maintaining a level-head, has set the platform upon which the people can transform crisis into opportunity.

The reflection of this new found inspiration and neo-roadmap places a cardinal challenge before all Liberians no matter where you may be, your religion, culture and backgrounds to be regimented in the true spirit of collective nationalism wherein the beauty, power and strength of the unity of purpose can overcome the Ebola-imposed insurmountable obstacles; thereby reaping the praiseworthy harvest of an imbued sense of belonging.

This platform re-invents all Liberians to clearly and selflessly see and put the supreme interest of the survivability of the country from such destructive and death-driven Ebola virus now diminishing almost all the values this glorious land of liberty stands for and cherishes so much and far above all else.

Through it all, the President has demonstrated and nurtured the finest tenets of democracy by opening the door for the flow of all views including the opposing and critical ones; the immediate institution of an inquiry team without camouflaging, to investigate the West Point Shooting, a move graciously embraced, admired and appreciated by the United States Government through its mission accredited near this capital.

In these difficult times that put the soul of a nation on trial, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, optimistically courteous and with a steadfast composure, has been at the helm of unfolding developments; and with a calm nerve, continues to progressively conduct the course of action in the fray to contain and at last expel the Ebola nightmare from this country by brilliantly displaying the art of “crisis management and damage control” now generating dynamic dividend.

President Sirleaf has been exploring succinctly, the popular philosophy of interconnectivity which reflects that we’d, time after time be our brothers’ keepers; by the same token, knowing that no man is an island; that even an island is a part of a country; as a country is a part of a continent and a continent a full blown part of the one world we so dearly share; truly, by and large, the expedition is genuinely paying off with positive signals.

Out of this crusade, the President with clear conscience and love for country and people has connected with good, powerful and traditional as well as other warm, tender and people-centered friends with vast resources and superb experts and professionals in diverse disciplines in assisting Liberia to eradicate the Ebola scourge.

This brilliant approach is a stitch in time as evident by the arrival of over 3,000 troops from the United States and a wide range of experts from many countries including the People’s Republic of China to join the Liberian people; indeed a big boost in the fight against Ebola and not resting until it is completely kicked out of this for-now embattled-nation.

With this magnificent joint-venture, it has been glaring that we are not alone anymore; that the virus is not an exclusive health problem for Liberia in particular and some countries in the western sub- region of Africa in general rather a grave threat to global security as President Barack Obama noted, Ebola is determined to undermine the progressive function of economies in countries currently affected while posing a grave security threat globally which must be fought vehemently with collective concern and efforts.

Also commendable with dynamic impact in the Ebola fight that is now experiencing a down-ward trend is the pool of resources and funding contributed by several financial institutions including the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and many humanitarian organizations and philanthropists, whose profound interest and efforts have strengthened the veins of Liberia to offensively unleash an all-out war on the virus now retreating.

At this juncture, and with all progressive reflectors and promising indicator, it has become a proven theory that it requires collective global efforts to stamp out Ebola and stop it from spreading to other parts of the world. In view of the praiseworthy demonstration exhibited in Liberia coupled with such esteem quality of a matured leadership in times like these; we, with hats off pause and say, bravo Madam President.

Amidst all the twists and turns, “The government continues to lead the fight which we cannot surrender now, while our international partners continue to give us all the technical support in this fight”, Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis G. Brown maintained.

It is often said that tough times don’t last, only tough people last; this we hold so true. Despite the present disturbing Ebola’s death rate, and as pathetic as it is, surely the death of one Liberian from the Ebola virus is a massive pain and a great blow to the nation; although the raging Ebola virus has stamped its nefarious-death-driven poison on the skin of the battle, make no mistake and don’t be fooled into thinking because it will not win the war; the resilient people of Liberia will win the war in collaboration with their determined partners and sincere friends.

Liberia’s Ebola Battle: A War Without Front line

January 8, 2015

 

Monrovia January 8 (LINA)-Liberians are not strangers to living in a hostile environment and terrifying harsh terrains. As evidenced that the very country has been through a series of power-greed-driven political conflicts, primary among them being the country’s bloody civil conflict that lasted from 1989-2003.

The experience of Liberians during the conflict was not only mean, vain and bitter, but also agonizing that no Liberian would ever want to go back to war upon being tormented with the toughest and roughest treatment of disrespect to the lowest denominator thereby being left with insufficient respect to share.

Then came a new enemy named and styled notorious Ebola Virus the menace that unleashed a battle dubbed a war without frontline. This disaster master swept precious Liberian lives with the fastest speed to the world of the dead while being unconcerned about honor and disgrace.

In the same vein, Ebola the menace overwhelmed every factor of production thereby bring the operations of the country to its knees; upon inflicting thousands others totally reckless and helpless with the venom of the crusading scourge of the virus.

Nonetheless, many who have survived that bitter experience are alive today to see their beloved country once more go through another excruciating nightmare and threat this time not from the usual bombardments which are the regular characteristic of war, but the deadly Ebola virus.

To keep safe from the Ebola Virus, the rules are simple. Firstly one must avoid close contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, including sweat, vomit, blood and others…Similarly, people are required to observe several hygienic practices which include washing of hands and body with solutions containing chlorine or bleach to ensure safety.

Ebola is a virus that kills up to 95 percent of its victims, and the many deaths it has triggered in Liberia has reminded the  people about the country’s past civil crisis which almost erased the nation from the face of the planet. Ebola the menace is currently heartlessly and mercilessly tearing down population in Sierra Leone having sucked thousands of Guinean and Liberian lives to the great beyond.

Amongst other factors that led to more fear and an artificial panicking situation in the country, was the World Health Organization (WHO) projection which grimly estimated the massive and unrealistic number of deaths that the three Mano River Countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone would have accrued if partial complacency would have been the hallmark of response efforts.

In one of his regular press conferences, Information Minister, Lewis Brown, asserted that “Ebola knows no boundary, tribe, race, religion or profession; it is an enemy that attacks from anywhere and no one knows where its next target is….because it kills uncontrollably.”

Liberia is currently fighting to contain the Ebola disease, with evidence of its possible containment beginning to surface as nine out of 15 counties has for over 21 days reported “Zero” incidence of the deadly hemorrhagic Ebola virus.

Soon Liberia will prevail as news considering the country’s progress and success which can now be matched to the period when the nation civil conflict was retarding with numerous peace accords being held through the instrumentality of UN and ECOWAS.

The evidence are glaring that Liberia has adopted a robust and pro-active approach to transcend the odds in an unusual warfare containing fierce, merciless and invisible nemesis, as the influx of local and international response remains a clue to demystifying the nation’s future.

Liberians are resilient people, this speaks to the fact that the nation amongst the three Mano River countries in defiant of this unusual adversary stood the test of time, robustly galvanizing support and putting forth more survivors to testify against the brutality they experienced.

We can never forget this battle as it will always remain a resounding historical fact that will be told to posterity that Liberians as a people and nation flourished in the midst of gruesome difficulties, and aggressively battled a deadly disease  in a war without borders and no frontline in genuine political will-power of partners like the great and mighty United States of America, the European Union, African Union, Economic Community of West African States many western countries including renowned global financial institutions as well as many well-meaning individuals and organization  whose collective concerns, interests and efforts have landed Ebola the menace on the back foot. With every hope that Ebola will and must be eradicated from Liberia- The curtain has dropped. It’s just the matter of time.

“Slow Leak”

December 30, 2014

 

 

One mystical day in March

An unthinkable death-driven nation-crippling wind

Belched from across a nearby border into this once

War-wrecked nation leaving all living things trembling

And chilling in quandary as the frail war fatigue population

Gravely shrinks to the death melody of Ebola.

 

Did it come on the mid-night cloud-loaded with sorrow,

Agony, grief and misery? Oh!  How could it trek that route?

Did it enter the land like thief at the time day and night could not

Come to an end? So true!  But one thing is surely certain that Ebola

Did not need an environmental adaptation refresher course;

No appetite for seminar or workshop on how to unleash its gruesome

Vernon; and now it heartlessly commands the scourge-earth crusade

Through the reign of terror.

 

The incursion of this nefarious life-snatcher is grotesquely milking this

Nation close to non-existence- It has unruly disrupted every set pattern

And norm of life cutting the powerful veins of traditional, cultural, socio-                                            politico-economic Doctrines-

My dear ones wallowing in the theater of fear-prone uncertainty;

Since Ebola drew the line in the blood soaked sand… no one can put foot.

 

When the post-Ebola history is ever written, churches will scream for being

Robbed out the many bodies that were rushed out of their domains without                                        souls…

Funeral parlous will weep on bended knees for presiding over balance sheets

Saddled with ‘dragon red’; as the graves become overwhelmed with famine;

There are still up to this moment skulls, skeletons and cremated body-dust

Wailing and gushing fresh blood while coffin shops struggle to nail Ebola with

A writ of injunction and forced indictment.

 

See what has happened to our nation; we are now being picked from among

People although we are all going the same way and place-our nation is in                                             severe  Pain;

Ebola…so strange to our problem solving think-tank has flattened the nation’s

Air sac and punched up the lungs of the land-

The entire country is oozing from slow leak.

 

Those with big knowledge and can see through steel walls keep echoing

That Ebola is a lazy warrior, but its invisibility and invincibility send a rattling

Signal that make no mistake… for there’s no joke in snake’s mouth.

Indeed Ebola is declared lazy yet it has successfully and fearfully paralyze

Every ounce of being the way we were…and exposed the weaknesses swept

Under the rug of more incarcerated questions than answers.

 

Ebola! Ebola! Ebola! And Ebola again!

Remember what made you uneasy in the Congo?

How you’re rushed in Uganda and now you’ve become a reckless

Loose cannon firing indiscriminately in a land that has not invited your

Attention nor interfered with your temper- yet you’re savaging and

Rampaging its population with your cutting knife of death.

 

Ebola, Ebola…whose mission are you on?

Who bankrolls the cost of the destruction you are inflicting on a land

That has never planted seed with you of which you’re reaping a harvest

Of precious lives and a near breakdown national growth and development?

Ebola…it will not continue like this perpetually; you came,

You sank the nation in despair; keep in your fragile mind with blank stone                                          heart of   Eroding Kingdom that the fight has just begun; and as victory is for                                     us and the land.

Despite your raging slow leak

You will flee this land of resilient people and partners;

That’s when you’ll know and see the tallest chickens after the rain.

-Gus D. Jaeploe

 

The Camel’s Back Is Weak

November 4, 2008

    When Sirleaf’s government upon its inception declared corruption as public’s enemy number one in a society that entire fabrics have been polluted with that virus, most Liberians without critical second thought wholeheartedly embraced the pronouncement, believing that they were now set to say fareware to business as usual.

   But months later, they have come to realizing that the business of waging an all out war on this enemy of decency, growth and development for any determined people and society was being done with an apartheid motive…meaning certain group of Liberians from the  congo hegemony would be heavily protected no matter how deep they may find themselves plastered with the disgraceful mud of corruption. In fact, this congo hegemony comprised the the little elite whose fore-fathers yoked this country for over a hundred years until they were removed in a bloody military coup. This coup kept them out of cirrculation in the political corridor for years, until the nation was plagued with a long period of bloodbath that saw people killing each other-a war believed to be teleguided by influential offsprings of the smashed hegemony.

   Today in Liberia,  elements outside the privileged-elite have been dismissed from the government’s job for being hooked in corrupt act, whereas elements from the privilegd-elite who have been exposed by investigation and audit reports, are quickly transferred to another ministries, and the beat goes on thus making complete mockery of the fight to expell or at least make the land very unpleasant and uneasy for corruption to have a field day as it now seems.

   With the high speed that corruption is moving with seeing public corporations exposed for recklessly siphoning  public funds, the classification of the Sirleaf’s government being rated three times more corrupt than previous governments coupled with that leadership’s inability to act swiftly in the supreme interest of the state, people and the growing democracy, many people are expressing high degree of skepticism about the way forward collectively with strict adherance to the rules of good governance, let alone the battle to make substantial progress in the poverty reduction strategy now currently being over publicized than witnessing any fruitful and meaningful headwayin the capital Monrovia.

   The nation so badly trapped in the web of corruption and with nothing drastic coming from the authority to curb the national nightmare no matter whose neck appears on the line  and with several government’s ministries and agencies are feasting in corruption, the future of the country is becoming very worrisome. The question being asked now especially since the government ended a fresh retreat in a city  called Kakata amidst screaming banner headlines in the lacol newspapers about rampant corruption, only to hear that officials of government have been cautioned to shape up or shape out-breeze! hot air,  and as mentioned earlier, the question now asked is: What has made the camel’s back weak? And indeed to a larger extend, the camel’s back is weak.s

Meeting Liberia Through The Global Mirror

October 11, 2008

    I’m a journalist from a country(Liberia) that nearly bled itself to complete disappearance born out of the quest of greed for power, sheer  disrespect for others’ rights to exist freely without caving in to the heartbeats of elements who always find pleasure in using people to promote, protect and if possible die for their interest and achievements.

   As a journalist, I’ve witnessed years, to be exact, 14 years of total bloodletting sanctioned by so-called revolutionaries and liberattors with vested ulterior motives to propel themselves into the political arena through which they will sit pretty in obtaining state power. In so doing, they used brothers against brothers to perpetuate their grand design…a process that reduced the nation’s population of a little over two million by 250,000.

    This was the period of the history of Liberia when guns made major decisions as the whole world in the beginning was taken by a breezy surprise that  forrced it to deveelop cold feet amidst the wailing and bitter cries from the struggling citizens, calling on the world and all men and women of goodwill and human touch to come and save them from the shackles blood, sweat, tears and death. Despite these outreach loud cries, the global politics nefariously contributed to the delay of the flight of intervention and justice.

    This era in the history of Liberia saw children killing anyone including relatives. the total breakdown of law and order, the mass exodus of people fleeing to different countries as refugees in search of a safe haven to save their skin. Such was the period when a whole generation of young Liberians born at such time knew nothing about home training, education and the respect for the rule of law They were born with the gun, grew up with the guns and drugs- their only playground was the active blood-prone battle fornt. No interest in upholding the decency of labor. as all they know is to get anything their hearts desire through the intruction of the guns, and looting became a culture to keep amassing wealth on a  duty-free visa.

    At last, wheen the assistance started to filter in through a regional force called ECOMOG, with inmixed international backing, the dimension of the civil crisis turned vicious as the leading rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia(NPFL) became seriously opposed to the intervention of the multi-national force with the unshakeable mandate to keep, maintain and enforce tthe peace. This became an uphill battle that not only divided the country, but kept the people hostage for years, as the politicians and their extended collaborators as well as the military heavyweights continue to have and enjoy their honeymoon at the lives of the suffering people and the destructtion of the country including all the factors of production. This was the worst of time in the life of our once beloved country cherished for peace and love for all those who visited or lived there before this national nightmare dubbed: civil war. showed its terrifying colors.

   siInce then, the entire mentality of the  society towards each other for the most part, is imbued with mistrust, suspicioius mind and a still deep-rooted taste of bitter division. The senseless war, as we now know it to be did not pave to way for greater achievement ans the saying goes,”destruction can be tthe cause of rebuilding” rather, our destruction has led us into a separate world highly chargwed with truma with everyone hustling ways and means to  use others as scapegoats, while spending all the useful times designing avenues to pass the buck and remain “angel clean” through the global mirror.

      The scar of this war which lives  fresh on the minds of the people, mainly those who could not make their out of the country during the hey days, will not not disappear any ttime soon, as long as people continue to fertilize those vices that almost eraced Liberia from the map of the world. Until we can learn to learn again, avoid being vendetive no matter where we may find ourselves, quit the attitude of pick and choose and divide and rule and begain to see each other as a total human with all rights to start from rags to riches at the sametime being responsible for things we do wrong, with the  golden opportunity to be accorded the due process of law, this scar shall forever remain a dangerous cancer on our skin as Liberians and a badly degrading killing virus on the image of our once glorious land of liberty, now fighting vehemently to survive in the intensive care unity of globalism.

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October 11, 2008

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