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Free Alas, Liberia is Ebola Free, But...

Like many Liberians, I was elated to hear the news that Liberia is now Ebola free after the disease had killed 4,700 of my people. This declaration comes after forty two days of no new Ebola case  reported. We are confident that in places where every death is attributed to witch craft, there is truly no  Ebola death. This calls for celebration and understandably Liberians who have had little to celebrate about took to the streets singing and dancing to celebrate the freedom from the evil Ebola virus. The havoc the deadly Ebola wrecked on the country was so sadly indescribable that the absence of its casualty for 42 days is a reason to dance and celebrate.

But I hope Liberians have learned a lot from the outbreak and the pains it brought that we don’t lose sight of those things that caused the spread of the virus in the first place. I hope we are smart enough not to “eat sweet and forget about toothache.”  Taking a step back from the pomp and pageantry, one does not have to look too hard to find that those conditions that caused the spread still exist. First, the border through which the virus came to Liberia is still open and those neighboring countries are not yet Ebola free. Second, the filth and poor healthcare system (if we must call it a system) that made the ground fertile for the spread still loom over the capital city and most parts of the country. Third, the lackadaisical attitudes, sometimes outright ignorance on the part of some Liberians, some even going to the extent of denying the existing of the virus may have not evaporated completely. These are the harsh realities that may call for some sober reflections even in the midst of the jubilant parades.

As the drums roll marking the end of the Ebola nightmare, I hope we don’t forget that if we leave the doors wide open again and soften the ground, Ebola or something even far worse may come to destroy lives and crumble our economy again. May we learn our lessons well so that Ebola and anything that rejoices in victimizing our people do not come back devastating us again!

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