I am guardedly confident that in the coming weeks we will see a significant decrease in the number of cases but I am also certain that the fight is going to be long and hard to get to zero. Am also certain that it is essential that we will fight and win that fight.” This statement was made by Dr. Tom Frieden the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Director (CDC).
During a press briefing at the Raddison Blu Hotel yesterday, the CDC Director said “I can’t predict what the future will bring, I can’t predict when cases will come down but I can say that given the effort you are undertaking we will expect to see a significant decrease in the cases within several weeks, we can be certain but we do know that if we come together and work together to rapidly isolate people who have fever, to test them, to identify contacts and trace those contacts, cases should come down substantially. To say that it will likely get better within several weeks is not to say that it will get all better within several weeks because while I am reasonably confident that you will see a significant decrease in the Western District within several weeks I’m also completely certain that it will take a long time and much hard work for it to get better.”
After three months of visits to the three country’s hardest hit by the disease; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the CDC Director stated that in Sierra Leone “there has been an increase, the number of cases has risen, the number of health personnel that has become infected and died has risen and the overall death and spread of the disease has continued.”
He was optimistic that it is possible to end Ebola but it is going to be through hard and meticulous work but “am very encouraged by progress of the response.”
The Doctor stated that time is very important and crucial in the fight there is no shortcut “we need to make sure that when people get sick, they are promptly and effectively cared for, diagnosed and isolated.” Time is also important as long as the Ebola is spreading anywhere it is a risk everywhere. He maintained that there is need to make sure that contacts are identified and tracked for 21 days, and that to ensure that when someone dies they are properly buried without anyone touching a dead body.
Dr Frieden stated that Ebola has also revealed the challenges and allowed “us to strengthen some of the essential systems in Sierra Leone for finding and stopping the disease.”
There is a misconception between the situation in Liberia and Sierra Leone he said “if you look at the number of cases per week in Liberia to that of Sierra Leone, what happened in Monrovia two months ago is what is happening in Freetown and Western Area. It is not necessary that Sierra Leone’s response is different but the disease moved in a different pace in the different countries. But that gives Sierra Leone the unique opportunity to learn from the challenges and progress in Liberia and to apply them here.”
He said “I don’t think Sierra Leone, West Africa and the world need to put up with Ebola. I don’t think the disease has to become endemic which means that it continues to spread indefinitely. I don’t think that it is endemic, I do think that we can stop it but its going to take lot of long hard work and certainly it will take working together and am certain it is going to require effort, not only in the capital but in the communities throughout the country, not only in the Ebola treatment facilities but in every health care facility.”
By Betty Milton
Thursday December 18, 2014