The Liberian Government has welcomed the predictive tool released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the Ebola epidemic.
“This instrument is intended to help measure our progress in the ongoing fight against the Ebola epidemic,” according to a MICAT release issued in Monrovia Wednesday.
It said the Ebola Response Model predicts what could happen if Liberians do nothing, and importantly, how, overtime, the country can measure positive changes in the state of the Ebola fight by taking good public health actions, such as those described in the National Ebola Response Plan.
Quoting the CDC publication, the MICAT release added that the published estimates of the CDC are based on data only up to August 28, and assumes that both the Government and the international community will do nothing more than had been done up to that date.
Information Minister Lewis Brown disclosed that understanding the range between the potential worst outcome and the best outcome gives the government and its partners more information about the steps we need to take to win this fight in the shortest possible time.
“The information in this report will help the government and its partners not only in terms of focusing on the ongoing fight but also in making the case internationally for greater and more urgent support to fight the worst Ebola epidemic in history. We intend to use this tool of the CDC to continuously measure our collective efforts and progress,” Brown said.
Pointing to the fact that the estimates of the CDC are based on data collected more than three weeks ago, the Chief Spokesman of the Liberian Government reminded that steps have already been taken since the end of August not to realize the worst-case predicted outcomes in the report.
The Minister said such steps include the addition of beds in Ebola Treatment Units at ELWA II and the JFK since the end of August, the conversion of Redemption Hospital into a 105-bed Holding Center, as well as the newly-opened 150-bed Unit at the Island Clinic which will positively affect the predicted estimates were these to be included in the report.
Other actions of the Government and partners, according to Minister Brown, which will positively affect the current predictions when added include the fact that bodies are more rapidly removed than two weeks ago because of the increase and zonal locations of burial teams, as well as the training of hundreds of community health volunteers, including teachers, to help our people take steps to protect their health.
Minister Brown disclosed that these trainings and mobilization of communities are ongoing and will continue across the country.
According to the Liberian Information Minister, the Government is working with the CDC to add these and other important information about progress into the Ebola Response Model.
“By entering those facts, we will be able to get a full picture, as well as update the estimate regularly so as to reflect the expected effect of public health actions taken by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its partners in the ongoing fight. As soon as we add that information to the prediction tool, the updated projections will be shared,” Minister Brown disclosed.
Meanwhile, the predictive model of the CDC has revealed that people who are in Ebola Treatment Units or who are kept in their own areas, away from others and at home while new units are being built infect less than one person on the average.
People who are not separated from others while they are sick, risk infecting about two other persons.
According to Minister Brown, this finding further confirms the urgent need to keep sick people away from those who are not sick.
He added: “This continues to be one of the most important steps we can take to win this fight. If people have a sick person at home, they need to find a way to keep that person in their own place, away from others, so as to protect the rest of the family, and other people who may be living in the same house, until the health team arrives.”
The Liberian Information Minister reminded Liberians that ending this Ebola epidemic will take some time. He, however, revealed that the Liberian Government and its partners are adding Ebola Treatment Units and taking all necessary measures including programs of community ownership to shorten the time.
Citing the CDC Report, the MICAT boss observed that the predictive model proves that once a Tipping Point is reached, cases will decline about as rapidly as they have increased, noting that “gains below the tipping point can also significantly reduce cases.”
“Working together, we will defeat Ebola,” the MICAT release concluded.