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Mr. Joseph Saah Fallah
It’s unfortunate that a segment of our political elites has embraced the current Ebola epidemic as an opportunity to seek political gains. For them, the Government of Liberia (GoL) has done nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to contain the spread of this noxious virus.

We must now remind these politicians that this is no time for greedy politics. Our people are dying -- we need solutions -- not tired criticisms.

Even as we concede that the GoL still faces grave challenges in its efforts to contain this epidemic, we must acknowledge that it is doing what it possibly can; given the country’s pathetic health care delivery system. We must also be reminded that this is Liberia’s first major public health crisis, at least in our recent political history. Thus, our learning curve is steep; we have made mistakes; and many more mistakes will likely be made before we get it right.

Ongoing challenges facing our government have been 167 years in the making -- the result of entrenched structural, socio-cultural and governance flaws that have characterized our existence as a nation state. If I dare to be honest, I will suggest that Liberia has always been a nation in chaos; and trying to contain this virus in a chaotic social-cultural and political environment is making an already bad situation even worse.

Indeed, there have been policy failures as well. Our failure to enforce existing public health laws partly got us here; our failure to implement an individual electronic identification system partly got us here; our failure to have housing numbering system partly got us here; our failure to build a society rooted in the rule-of-law partly got us here; and our failure to hold our public officials accountable partly got us here.

But all of these observed failures don’t matter now; our political differences also don’t matter now. Ebola is devouring our people; we must all unite our efforts to kick this deadly virus out of our country!

Sadly, Ebola will leave us mournful for our fallen compatriots and loved ones; but Ebola too shall pass and time will mend our broken hearts. I plead that we don’t return to the status quo, after this health care battle is won. Let’s view this sad experience as the wake-up call that finally compels us to confront the structural,social-cultural and administrative weaknesses that have made fighting this epidemic a much more daunting experience.

And if at the end of the day our health care delivery system is improved, our disaster preparedness regime is improved, our entrenched risky social and traditional practices are changed, and our public officials become true servants of the people, then we would have truly won the battle against this deadly Ebola virus. But if we fail to challenge our demons and return to the status quo, then our compatriots would have died in vain. We must not allow this to happen!

To our political elites:join in -- lend your patriotism to this cause -- lend your professional expertise to this cause -- help kick Ebola out of Liberia. This is a season for practical solutions: not a season for politics!

By
Joseph Saah Fallah

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