Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson 'My initial fear of Ebola led to mistakes in managing the crisis' - Liberian president speaks

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play Liberian president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson admits that the country's response to Ebola in the early days was less than perfect (Forbes)
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Liberian president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson has admitted that her country's response to Ebola in the early days was less than perfect, New York Times reports.

In an interview with the The New York Times Editorial Board, the Nobel peace laureate said she erred in ordering a tough security crackdown at the height of the Ebola crisis last year, describing the deadly virus as an “unknown enemy” that had frightened her.

Speaking about the time police officers and soldiers had been deployed to seal off a vast neighborhood in Monrovia which set off skirmishes with residents and fueled distrust of the government and led to the death of a teenager, the Liberian president said:

“It did not take long to know that did not work, it created more tension in the society. We didn’t know what we were dealing with, it was an unknown enemy. People attributed it to witchcraft. We did not know what to do. We were all frightened. I was personally frightened.”

Inspite of the fact that 40 percent of the nearly 10,000 total deaths from the outbreak comes from Liberia, the country has since made a huge turn around for the better as it currently has no Ebola cases, having released the last patient less than 2 weeks ago. It is now on the countdown to being declared an Ebola-free country.

This is in part due to a highly effective public health awareness campaign undertaken by Johnson-Sirleaf’s government and Liberians themselves.

Donor nations and international aid groups have also poured enormous amounts of assistance into the country.

  

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