GREENVILLE, Sinoe â€“ Local health authorities in Sinoe have embarked on a county-wide awareness and sensitization campaign against the Coronavirus.
Although Liberia or any African country is yet to report a case of the virus, the outbreak, which started in China, is fast spreading into other countries. Liberian health authorities have reported tightened surveillance at the Roberts International Airport and other entry points.
But the local county health team in Sinoe says it has taken a step further by kicking off a county-level awareness to prepare residents for any possible outbreak and to ensure preventative measures are taken.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Greenville on Wednesday, the countyâ€™s health promotion focus person, Hosea Smith, said in order to put in place serious measures to prevent the virus from reaching the county, it is important to create awareness and solicit the views and recommendations of stakeholders on prevention.
Smith encouraged residents of Sinoe to join the members of the health team in creating awareness about the virus, which he said spreads even faster than Ebola.
â€œThe human Coronavirus most commonly spreads from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, as well as from close personal contact, considering hands shaking and touching infected people,â€ he said.
He named running nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing fever as common symptoms of the Coronavirus, adding that no vaccine is yet available.
â€œWe want to call on our people to regularly wash hands using soap and clean water, avoid touching of your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands,â€ he told his audience at the launch.
The exercise took place at the main compound of the government referral hospital in Greenville. It brought together local officials of the county, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Environment Protection Agency.
Speaking in an interview briefly after the awareness campaign was officially launched, the senior pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in Sinoe, John Jasay, encouraged his fellow pastors in the county to help to create awareness within their congregations to ensure that the message goes across to most of the population.
Jasay also called on citizens of Sinoe, irrespective of their religious backgrounds, to join forces with authorities in creating more awareness on the prevention of the deadly virus.
The countyâ€™s chief Imam and head of the Muslim community, Musa Kieta, also described the Coronavirus as â€œdangerousâ€ and urged the government to focus mainly on borders, monitoring for people entering from other countries.
Kieta believes that Liberia can be on the safe side only if serious measures are put into place at entry points and in every community.
â€œLike others already said, we from the mosque will also spread the awareness message during our regular praying time,â€ he said.
Featured photo by Teahwleh Geeplay