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IT IS WORRYING that the Liberian government through its Ministry of Health is yet to identify or diagnose ‘the strange disease’ said to be responsible for the death of eleven persons in Greenville, Sinoe County as well as Monrovia, with reports that citizens are fleeing into safety in other areas of the county not yet affected.

The situation is once more exposing the weaknesses and deficiencies in the health sector as experienced with the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in 2014. Over a dozen of Liberians lost their lives before it was established Liberia was dealing with the virus.

IT IS OVER a week and half since it was reported that several persons had lost their lives in mysterious circumstances in Greenville after they had attended a funeral of one Edwin Dunbar. Initially, it was thought to be the return of Ebola, a very feared disease, but the Health Ministry disclaimed the information after testing blood samples of the dead persons.

WITH UNCONFIRMED REPORTS linking it to food poison, it is, however, of concern that the government is still struggling to diagnose the “disease” after it had assured citizens that it has the proficiency and capacity to diagnose any disease “within a twinkling of an eye,” taken into consideration the experiences gained from the EVD outbreak. Of course, we are hearing the Ministry of Health is considering sending or has sent blood samples out of Liberia, and it may take days before the results are available. What this presupposes is that more and more lives could be lost before the situation is brought under control, or the main disease is known. This will also require that the health sector has all of the available tools including equipment, materials, financial resources and trained manpower.

WHAT SHOULD BE ALSO stressed is the financial constraints this imposes on the government, mainly at the time the economic outlook is very bleak and troubling. No nation fights or puts a health situation under control without finance, and as witnessed during the plague of the EVD, it took the cooperation and financial intervention of the international community to nip Ebola in the butt, besides Liberians’ unbending commitment to act in line with set protocols.

THOUGH THE GOVERNMENT has been doing extremely well, amidst scared resources, to improve some of the unwarranted conditions that existed before Ebola, but the latest outbreak of ‘the strange disease’ in remote Sinoe County which is taking damaging toll on the people is a reminder of how much is left to reach the ‘promised land.’ In these trying times, it is salient to appeal to those responsible – those in the health sector – not to see this situation as another ‘chopping’ as it was during Ebola when people licked to their bones, and when new homes sprouted in no time.

BESIDES, IT IS also important to call on the government to not allow those in the health sector to abuse the situation by not attending to other patients as we witnessed during Ebola, a situation that escalated the death ratio, as not everyone died of the virus but of treatable sicknesses. We hope officials will be as vigilant as possible so that the mistakes of Ebola are not repeated in this current situation. But in any case, it is worrying that the ‘strange sickness’ has not been diagnosed.

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