The devastating Ebola attack on Liberia would have caused serious starvation and total breakdown in the main channel that supplies the country’s stable food ‘RICE’ and other essential commodities for onward distribution to the general market, household and neighboring countries IF the Virus had hit the Gate Way to the Country’s Economy.
The situation would have disallowed the berthing of vessels in Liberian Seaports, redirect traffic to other countries and paralyzed the most reliant Import Sector of the Economy for the second time admit the restoration of peace and progress in growth rate following the end of the fourteen years brutal civil war. However, Since March 24, 2014, exactly ten months now, when Liberia was overwhelmed by the flame of the horrible Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that killed over 3,000 its citizens, The Management of the National Port Authority headed by Madam Matilda W. Parker has made remarkable gains in safe guarding the Gate Way of the Country’s Economy from the deadly Virus with an excellent score of ZERO cases.
Although the entire Liberian Society has not been fully declared totally free of the Ebola Virus Disease, a commemoration of Zero Ebola Cases in the Liberian Seaports in the face of the negative impact of the EVD on Liberian Economy, is Predicated upon the introduction and implementation of series of compulsory measures that were necessary to protect the Seaports of Liberia from the dreadful EVD.
Key amongst the NPA’s anti Ebola measures included: mandatory temperature check at all entry points to the Port facilities; issuance of none Shore Passes, regular hand washing, reduction in the workforce as well as the establishment of a temporary Care Centers at the Freeport of Monrovia, Greenville, Harper and the Port of Buchanan.
In adherence to the full implementation of these measures, the NPA Management also reinforced restrictions on visitation to its facilities and announced that all Port Users, Investment Partners and the General Public in Particular must wear long pants/long sleeves shirts /blouses as part of a daily requirement in addition to the compulsory hand washing and temperature check before accessing ports.
At the same time, an updated procedural measure mandating all visa holders entering Liberia via the seaport to be subjected to screening and be required to complete and sign a health declaration form; be screened upon returning, present an Ebola Travel Health Alert Notice, and be required to complete a health advisory form was also put in place by the NPA Management.
The NPA Procedural update also indicated that all passengers departing Liberia via the seaport will be subjected to screening, and be required to complete and sign a health advisory form before boarding a vessel.
A dedicated Ebola emergency number for each of the Ports and a contractual arrangement with First Responder for priority service anytime there is an emergency within the seaport facilities was also consummated by the NPA management.
Under this arrangement, First Responder will monitor the treatment/compliance regime of employee (active/inactive) sent home on 21 days isolation observation who might develop a medical situation.
In appreciation of this, the United States Based Center for Disease Control (CDC) has awarded a host of NPA staff including Managing Director Matilda Parker with Certificates of achievement for successfully completing series of training in disease prevention and control, ‘Guidance for the Selection and Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Waste Management and RING model.
Also In early August, Joanna Gaines and Tai Chen of the Center for Disease Control through an appraiser of acclamation indicated that the Stringent Precautionary measures being implemented by the NPA Management against the Ebola Virus are “Extreme Preventive Measures” that are also in line with certified approaches in preserving the Port facilities from being impacted by the EVD.
Consequently, normal operational activities at the four seaports within the Republic of Liberia continued to remain in tight with a clean record of Zero Ebola incident at X-Mas.