It’s been reported that a deadly epidemic that is akin to the Ebola virus disease which sent the world and western Africa in particular into a panic might hit again.
Although Sierra Leone and Liberia were declared Ebola-free in March and June respectively, there are new fears that an Ebola-like disease could hit the countries again.
An NGO WaterAid warned on Tuesday that this is likely to be born out of a lack of clean water, as well as recommended hygienic conditions in the western African states of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
It added that more than 24% of people do not have access to clean water in Liberia, and an even bigger figure of 37% of the population in Sierra Leone, likewise, do not have access to clean water.
The NGO continued saying that these figures are nothing compared to the ratio of people who do not have access to basic sanitation. WaterAid reported a large 86.7% of people in Sierra Leone and just over 83% of people in Liberia cannot afford basic sanitation in their respective countries.
WaterAid stated that if the Ebola-like disease were to occur, it would be difficult to deal with it, as the basic amenities needed for dealing with epidemics are lacking in these countries.
The NGO also made mention of the devastating effects of the Ebola Virus disease, implying the old proverb which states that “prevention is better than cure”; he advised that the countries move swiftly to curb the lack of water and good hygiene in order to prevent an outbreak.
“The terrible suffering of the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia during the Ebola crisis is at high risk of being repeated in another disease epidemic if we do not see action to improve water, sanitation and hygiene practices in our communities, schools and healthcare facilities,” WaterAid’s Joe Lambongang said in the statement.
“To ask healthcare professionals to battle an epidemic without clean water, safe toilets and somewhere to wash their hands is unrealistic and needlessly puts lives at risk,” he added.