Today is a remarkable day for Liberia. One which will be filled will joy.. yet I suspect, sadness, in equal measure.
Today marks the day that Liberia achieves the benchmark of 42 days of no new reported Ebola cases, and as a result, can now be declared Ebola Free. [click]
Liberians at home at abroad will no doubt feel a sense of joy and relief that after months of battling a virus that has brought the country to its knees and claimed the lives of over 4000 people, the battle is seemingly over.
Yet there will be sadness. Regret over the loss of lives, of livelihoods, of hopes and in some cases, of dreams.
Amidst the relief there remains fragility. Celebrations (if any) will be cautious.
Sierra Leone and Guinea are not yet free of Ebola. Cases have dropped significantly, with 0 cases reported some days in Sierra Leone, but with porous borders across these West African counties, no adjoining country can become complacent. [click]
The spread of Ebola across Liberia was exacerbated by its poor infrastructure, inadequate health services, and an entrenched lack of trust of the government the authorities, and international Agencies.
For many, Ebola wasn't real.. even as the sick lay dying.
People accustomed to taking care of themselves, were suddenly told they should no longer do that..
...told they could no longer touch thier sick loved ones, or prepare thier bodies for burial in the ways in which they had done for years.
Cultural change was needed and fast. and that.. is not easy.
I'm sure there are many lessons to be learned as Liberia reflects on what will now be an unforgettable period of the countries history.
The leaders will now have to respond in a way that they have so far failed to do.
They will have to take better care of thier citizens.
Cultural change is needed in leaders also. The culture of corruption, apathy towards the well being of its citizens, and the 'financial disappearing acts that have plagued the country' all need to change.
After all... Other people matter too.
Other people need a home, food, clothes, a job, an education
Not just *you*.
The emotional and psychological impact of Ebola may be felt for some time.
But... Liberia, and Liberians are strong and resilient people.
This is a country that can have one of the brightest futures
The government citizens volunteers, and health organisation have worked hard to get to this day. Unfortunately, many have paid with their lives.
There is no doubt in my mind, that Ebola health care workers and burial teams have proved heroic.
They said.. Ebola must Go.. and never gave up...
Lets hope that today marks a new direction for Liberia. One heading in the direction of that bright future.
A future which puts the people first.. not just multinational corporations
Africa's 1st 'independent' country