The WHO recently labeled the Covid-19 as a pandemic. This may be the first time most countries are facing such a virus, but some states have faced worse, the Ebola, and they succeeded. In Liberia, it started as a hoax, but within no time, one case of Ebola multiplied to 10,000 cases. What did they do that other countries can learn from in fighting the Coronavirus?
Communication about the Covid-19
For starters, they established effective communication with the public. Africa is a mostly religious continent, and several countries are approaching the Coronavirus from this perspective. Most of them believe that it has something to do with a punishment from God. Liberia had to work hard to separate between religious beliefs and science. They used the youth and pop artists to spread the message that Ebola is real. African countries should follow the same example, as much as citizens want to pray about it, they should approach it from a scientific perspective by following the directives given by healthcare providers. Currently, Governments are imposing measures against those spreading false information about the virus. They should also tell the truth about the status of the disease to avoid misinformation.
Establishing trust with their citizens
Several Afr4ican Governments are distrusted due to corruption and incapability to handle various situations. It is possible to find that several citizens don’t buy the fact that their Governments can handle the Coronavirus. So what did Liberia do to reassure their citizens? They asked for help, and it paid off. World organizations, donor communities, and individual countries came to their aid. As a result, Liberia had enough resources to deal with Ebola. As countries lock down their borders, they should ask for help from capable countries if they plan on surviving this pandemic.
Liberians, like most people all over the world, love coming together in religious gatherings, bars, and family gatherings. Countries around them locked their borders, but Liberians still gathered in their homes. This made it hard to stop the spread of the virus. The Government imposed a shutdown of all Government offices and imposed a curfew for people to stay at home. Several African countries are shutting down most workplaces and imposing bans on gatherings. But it’s not very effective. For example, in Kenya, even after the President banned gatherings, church gatherings in most rural areas still took place.
Collaboration in fighting against Covid-19 despite political rivalry
The Ebola and Coronavirus are similar in the sense that, if they don’t affect the country through cases and deaths, it can affect the country economically. Liberia was already in economic turbulence due to dropping prices in the iron ore exports. The lockdowns caused by Ebola made the situation worse. Investors moved out of the country, crippling the nation financially. The Coronavirus is causing the same problems whereby, as much as staying at home is crucial, crucial workers can’t risk staying at home since that would jeopardize their livelihood. Several companies, including major airlines and oil industries, are already laying off their workers, and reducing the salaries of other workers.
To avoid a long-term crisis, Liberia embarked on gathering resources for life after Ebola even before they had solved the Ebola crisis. With the help of the IMF, World Bank, and other global financial organizations, they ensured that they had enough resources for them, and other West African Countries, to recover from the economic crisis. They also had to bury their differences and collaborate with their neighboring countries on how to get through. It’s sad to say, but several developed countries could experience more deaths as a result of this pandemic just because they have a political rivalry with other countries. The Covid-19 may have a lower mortality rate, but with such a political approach, it could lead to more adverse effects.
The Covid-19 is a lot similar to Ebola in terms of effects, and approach to inhibit its spread. The main difference is that then Ebola didn’t affect several countries, but Liberia and DRC managed to eradicate this disaster. This was by communicating effectively and distinguishing between religious beliefs and scientific facts. They also asked for help, established strict lock down measures, and planned for a recovery, post-Ebola. Above all, they joined hands with their political rivals. Africa and Western countries can use the same strategy. Most importantly, communicating and collaborating with political enemies. The Covid-19 is bringing nations together, and they shouldn’t let their citizens die at the expense of pride.