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Averting the Lassa Fever Scare: Multifaceted Action Urgently Required

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first_imgIn early March this year the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) reported the outbreak of Lassa fever in Montserrado and Nimba counties, claiming three lives. Immediately following this scary announcement, the Daily Observer, in an Editorial, called on the Liberian government to treat the resurgence of this deadly disease with urgency, in order to forestall its spread.The Editorial further disclosed that a total of 134 contacts had been identified in Montserrado County (105), Margibi, 25 and Nimba (4), including 37 health workers. The Editorial noted that since January 1 this year, a total of 28 suspected cases of Lassa fever have been reported across the country, including 12 deaths in Montserrado, Bong and Nimba counties.Now two more deaths from Lassa fever have been reported this week—both in Margibi County—from a highly authoritative source, the county’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Myer Chea Pajibo. The Liberia News Agency (LNA) reported that Dr. Pajibo made the announcement this Tuesday at a news conference at the C.H. Rennie Memorial Hospital in Kakata, the Margibi capital.The two confirmed cases, he said, had been identified on May 4 and 7, 2018 at the C.H. Rennie Hospital. But he declined to name the victims or their specific communities, though Dr. Pajibo did indicate that both victims came from Kakata, the county capital, and from Gibi, a mountainous region of the county. The Chief Medical Officer made another equally troubling revelation.The male victim and his wife had traveled to Toma in Bong County to the funeral of their grandchild “who had suddenly died from a fever of unknown origin.” Could the fever that killed their grandchild have also been Lassa fever? Too bad an autopsy on the child did not take place before burial, though it may not be too late.But surely this should lead Bong County authorities, beginning with their Chief Medical Officer and Phebe and C.B. Dunbar Hospitals to launch an immediate investigation into the nature of the fever that caused this child’s death, to authenticate whether or not it was Lassa fever, and also to test other children in the area to determine whether any of them may be afflicted with that or any other strange “fever”.On a broader perspective, we are again calling on the Liberian government, most especially the Ministry of Health and the NPHIL to institute a national ALERT initiative, to warn the public about the danger of Lassa fever and ALL that people can and must do vigorously to suppress the further spread of this virus. Part of the campaign should be to let the public know exactly where the disease comes from.Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic illness caused by a virus that is transmitted through contact with the urine or feces of infected rodents (rats) and through direct contact with body fluids of infected individuals. Hemorrhagic means a profuse discharge of blood vessel; bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood. And where do rats, roaches, mosquitos and other such dangerous creatures come from?They come from unattended garbage—huge dumpsites, mountains of which are found in Paynesville, especially the commercial Red Light district, stagnant water found in such places as the clogged drainages in Soniwehn in central Monrovia and elsewhere.We must here highly commend the new Mayor of Paynesville City, Madam Pam Belcher-Taylor, who shortly after taking office has already begun cleaning up the garbage from the city’s main thoroughfare, Tubman Boulevard, especially the filthy stockpiles found near Matilda Parker’s place of birth.We pray that Mayor Belcher-Taylor will go further and clean up the marketplaces where our market women, with their babies and other children must sell in filth; and also the piles of garbage leading to the Gobachop market and the long stretches of garbage behind the Police Station on Somalia Drive. We make the same plea to the Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee, to clean up the nation’s capital—Soniwehn, Center Street, including the Palm Grove Cemetery, Waterside and the whole Bushrod Island vicinity.We make the same appeal to all of Liberia’s other mayors, especially those where the Lassa fever virus has been taking its deadly toll—in Kakata and other areas of Margibi County, Gbarnga and other parts of Bong County, Ganta, Sanniquellie and other parts of Nimba County.The Heath authorities, especially Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, should ever remember the urgent plea we made in a recent Editorial, to reactivate the Ministry’s Sanitation Division, so that they may undertake a vigorous campaign to ensure a clean Monrovia and all other cities around the country.The Health Minister and all government officials have definitely heard of the ancient dictum—“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” All of our doctors, nurses and paramedics and most people in Liberia have also heard that “Prevention is better than cure.”A vigorous sanitation campaign is a most critical part of PREVENTION!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Police record whopping 25% increase in robberies

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first_img…76 illegal firearms seizedThe Guyana Police Force on Friday announced it has recorded a whopping 25 per cent increase in robberies at the end on July 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017.The Police also recorded a 17 per cent decrease in murder; a seven per cent increase in armed robberies where firearms were used; three per cent increase in rapes and a seven per cent increase in burglary. A seven per cent increase in robbery with violence was also recorded.Reductions were recorded in robbery under arms where instruments other than firearms were used; robbery with aggravation; larceny from a person and break and enter and larceny. All in all, the Police noted that it recorded a five per cent decrease in serious crimes.According to the Police statistics, 58 murders were committed at the end of July 2018 compared to 70 for the corresponding period last year. Of the 58 murders, 25 were as a result of disorderly behaviour, 16 were as a result od domestic dispute, 11 were committed during robberies and the reasons for six are yet to be determined.Twelve murders each were recorded in A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) and C Division (East Coast Demerara); while 11 were committed in B Division (Berbice); nine in D Division (West Demerara-East Bank Essequibo); eight in F Division (Interior locations) and three each in E Division (Linden-Kwakwani) and G Division (Essequibo Coast and Islands).The Police Force also noted that it seized a total of 76 illegal firearms at the end of July when compared to 81 in 2017 for the same period. The firearms seized include 44 pistols, 18 revolvers, eight shotguns, one submachine gun and five rifles.With respect to seizures, A Division topped the list with 34; followed by F Division with 15; and C Division with nine. B Division followed closely with seven; while five firearms were seized in D Division; three in E Division and two in G Division.TrafficThe traffic department saw a 7.4 per cent decrease in fatal accidents at the end of July 2018 when compared to the same period last year. It also recorded a decrease in serious, minor and damage accidents.A total of 57 persons were killed as a result of accidents up to July 2018, two less that the same period last year, which signals a 3.3 per cent decrease. Of the 57 persons killed, two were children.April was listed as the deadliest month with 11 deaths followed by February, March and May with nine deaths each. Seven deaths were recorded in June and six apiece for January and July.Speeding accounted for 26 of the 57 deaths, while failure to conform to sign were responsible for nine; pedestrians crossing in the path of approaching vehicles claimed eight lives and inattentiveness claimed another six.One person died as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol/speeding.In addition, between January and July 2018, the Police made out a total of 52,277 cases against errant drivers. Speeding topped the list with 12,401 cases.last_img read more