“The Ebola Fight is Collective”… Mohamed Bangura at the United Nations
Mohamed Bangura (in photo), a young Sierra Leonean Politician who doubles as the leader of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Chairman of the All Political Party Association (APPA) has helped in bringing the real picture of the Ebola crisis at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Catching up with the young man in the East side of Manhattan, New York, he gave an exclusive interview to me in which he said the Ebola fight in Sierra Leone is a collective action.
He continued in the short interview to say that, when the Ebola started in Kailahun, it nearly took the political trend. According to him, it was the quick intervention of all political parties and its leaders that diverted that trend and make it a reality and a fight for all. He said, “This is not a political fight. It is also not a regional fight. It is a national battle that all of us has taken very seriously. That is the reason we as political parties have laid aside our political differences and ideology to beat this deadly sickness. We will continue to be like that till we see to it that Ebola is no more in our country. The battle front this time is not on political ideology but the show of leadership to prevent our country from sinking or extinction. We have chosen to fight from all fronts so that Ebola will not consume our generation. That willingness and enthusiasm is genuine and within the bone marrow of political leaders in Sierra Leone at this present moment. I am here therefore, to help pass on that message at the UNGA,” he added.
Commenting on his purpose in the Sierra Leone delegation to the United Nations, Mohamed Bangura said that he is in the delegation to represent APPA and help bring the message to the international community. In one of the meetings hosted by the Sierra Leone Foreign Minister, Mr. Samura Kamara, Mohamed Bangura told me that he assisted in making the case of Sierra Leone to heads of Missions to the United Nations. In that meeting the Ambassador and permanent representative of Canada, Mr. Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Kenny Gluck, UN Director and Deputy Head of Peace Building Support Office, Jian Pak UN Political Affairs Officer and several other. In that meeting several things were discussed including the urge for swift action to be taken so as to prevent further tragedies in Sierra Leone, Mohamed Bangura told me.
He expressed the concern of economic challenges that the Ebola virus is compounded with. He said that because of the Ebola economic activities in the country, the country has come to a standstill and that the short and long term effect of that will be overwhelming. “Yes people are dying of Ebola right now in the country but hardship is making them die faster than it is supposed to be and that is because of the Ebola. I call it the Ebola economic stall. That economic aspect of the Ebola impact should be juxtaposed with its eradication,” Mohamed Bangura went on. He also expressed confidence that with the help of the international community the Ebola will be stalled and economic activities will slowly pick up in the country.
In another development, on Sunday, September 27, 2014, the Sierra Leone Nurses Association in the New York Tri-state and the Ebola task force had a meeting at the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations with Ambassador Vandi Minah and Ambassador Bockari Stevens. The meeting was to discuss the deployment efforts of nurses, shipping of medical supplies, and health care improvement strategies for Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Embassy and the Permanent Mission to UN are joining forces with the Sierra Leone Nurses Association to create a database of physicians and health care providers across the United States and the diaspora. In that meeting, a phone call was made to Dr.
Demby live from Sierra Leone for updates of the situation on the ground. The nurses were led by Zainab Sesay Farrell and the meeting was coordinated by Bernadette Kamara and Khadiatou Diallo.
Mohamed Bangura and almost all delegates that were attending the UNGA were present. The meeting was fruitful as it came out that Sierra Leoneans in the United States are ready to sacrifice for their country. Ahmed Kargbo, a United States army veteran expressed concern about the loss of job and stigma after the work. He said that people might lose their jobs after they have served their country and might be stigmatized on their return. He for that reason suggested to the Ambassadors present to make a case with Congress to make Sierra Leoneans in the United States be assured of their jobs when they go and come back. The two Ambassadors agreed to lobby congress in that aspect.
By Umaru Sitta Turay, USA
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