Traditional healers to Observe 90-Days Ebola Precaution
Freetown, December 1 – (SLENA) – With support from FOCUS 1000, the Sierra Leone Indigenous Traditional Healers Union (SLITHU) on Sunday 22nd November 2015 continued sensitization of its members to maintain the 90 days zero Ebola period. (Photo: Alhaji Dr. Suliaman Kabba)
The event held at Hotel 5-10 on Bai Bureh Road, Kissy in Freetown, attracted over 3,000 traditional healers nationwide.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Programs, FOCUS 1000, Dr. Samuel Abu Pratt, revealed that FOCUS 1000 is a trusted partner of the Traditional Union that no one would put asunder, recalling that at the height of the Ebola outbreak, it was FOCUS 1000 that incorporated members of the Union into the fight to end the pandemic and underscored that the history of Ebola would not be complete without mentioning the formidable role played by the Traditional Healers’ Union.
Dr. Pratt further highlighted the 90-days period stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) which he cautioned healers to strictly observe to finally eradicate the disease and catalogued the challenges in caring for the sick to avoid body contact.
He also assured the Union of his organization’s continued support as major partners in the fight against Ebola, acclaimed them for demonstrating high discipline for their leader, Alhaji Dr. Sulaiman Kabba and assured them of more programs after Ebola.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FOCUS 1000, Alhaji Mohamed Bailor Jalloh recalled when President Ernest Koroma commended traditional healers at the recent memorial thanksgiving service for victims of the outbreak at the forecourt of Youyi Building in Freetown and appealed to the Union to uphold the highest standards of the Union to prevent a return of the virus.
In his keynote address, the President of the Union, Alhaji Dr. Sulaiman Kabba acclaimed FOCUS 1000 and partners for recognizing and supporting the Union to end the pandemic, for presenting the Staff of Office to, recalling that the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah signed the policy on traditional healers that was endorsed and launched by President Koroma and warned his colleagues to desist from all traditional rites until after 90 days.
Dr. Kabba reiterated that the CEO of FOCUS 1000 is committed to promote the welfare of his members but lamented that the Union lacks ethics, informed that FOCUS 1000 sensitized them on how to develop and destroy their culture and appealed to Government to establish an Institute of Traditional Medicine as in other countries to capacitate members in order to diagnose and prescribe traditional medicines.
The SLTHU President further urged his members not to destroy their culture and recalled the launch of the ‘bush to bush’ campaign during which they searched all secrete shrines to prevent healers taking care of the sick.
He warned ‘Soweis’ to comply with Government’s 18 years of age initiation policy for the secret female ‘Bondo’ society, desist from harmful traditional practices and claims of curing various diseases, guaranteeing that the Union would continue to work with partners to combat future outbreaks.
Concluding, Dr. Kabbah appealed to the Anti-Corruption Commission to checkmate impersonators of SLITHU who are receiving funds from Government and donors disregarding the fact that he uses his private resources to sensitize and even disarm his members of traditional implements in various parts of the country.
Other dignitaries who made statements included the District SLITHU representatives while the program was chaired by Mohamed A Kamara, National Chairman of SLITHU.
By Amadu Kargbo, Credit SLENA
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