Who wants the health minister’s job?
The Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the Head of State and President of the Republic of Sierra Leone has taken swipe at the Minister of Health and Sanitation for allegedly failing to contain the deadly Ebola virus since the first suspected case of the deadly and contagious disease was confirmed in the country by the Health Ministry early this year. But when the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madam Miatta Kargbo, was summoned by Parliament to give an update on the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, she convincingly explained about the protracted efforts her Ministry and the frontline staffs were making to contain the deadly disease in the country especially in the Kailahun District where the disease has taken its toll on tens of human lives, much to the trepidation of the public. (Photo: Madam Miatta Kargbo, Minister of Health and Sanitation)
But instead of commending the Minister for her satisfactory explanation to Parliament, the Proprietor of Awareness Times newspaper, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, took umbrage at the Minister’s dress when she was summoned by Parliament and even blew out of proportion what she had honestly told the lawmakers about the causes of deaths of the Chief Health Officer (CHO) and a Nurse in Daru, the chiefdom headquarters of Jawei in the Kailahun District, who contacted the deadly Ebola disease when they were together in the field at Kissi Teng. Dr. Sylvia Blyden even quoted the Member of Parliament for Constituency 006 in Jawei Chiefdom and the wife of Dr. John Aruna Karimu as saying that the information which the Minister divulged to Parliament about the CHO and the nurse was totally unacceptable and incomprehensible.
Be that as it may, one would not be surprised if Dr. Sylvia Blyden could have the temerity to attack Madam Miatta Kargbo for what she wore on the day she appeared before Parliament. It could be recalled that before she was appointed SEA at State House, she had for the umpteenth time ridiculed President Ernest Bai Koroma by asking the general public about the colour of the President’s underwear. Besides, the SEA has gained notoriety for embarrassing the APC Government since the President appointed her to that position which I believe was a ploy by the powers-that-be to expose her nefarious deeds.
I believe Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s article against Madam Miatta Kargbo was meant to not only incite nurses against the Minister but to also damage her reputation, thereby exposing her to public ridicule and hatred. The dress code of the Health Minister at that material time had no relevance to containing the deadly Ebola disease which the lawmakers were very eager to know about. But the controversial SEA decided to choose that infinitesimal issue as something she could use against the Minister in a bid to let her appear unpopular and unfit for the job.
Dr. Sylvia Blyden may be fighting a proxy war against the Health Minister for someone in her favour to succeed the young woman, but truth is the SEA is well notable for destroying decent people and Madam Miatta Kargbo is no exception. So who will take her serious? No well-meaning Sierra Leonean will actually take the publisher serious because of her vindictiveness and slanted criticisms against descent citizens who have contributed immensely to the development of this country. Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s appalling behaviour towards most government officials and how she had barred herself from State House could certainly explain what type of personality she is.
Madam Miatta Kargbo’s dress in Parliament notwithstanding, I believe the Minister and her staff are performing exemplarily well in containing the deadly Ebola disease in the country; otherwise, thousands of Sierra Leoneans would have died of the epidemic since it invaded the country from neighbouring Guinea. It is only hoped that their efforts in containing the killer disease would not be dampened by detractors like Dr. Sylvia Blyden and her like-minds. So please go ahead and perform your national duties Madam Miata Kargbo and don’t allow any detractors or haters to pull you down. Lonta!
By Hamed B. Kanneh
Hamed B. Kanneh is a journalist, CEO and Proprietor-New Storm Newspaper Freetown, Sierra Leone.
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Dr. Mariatu Turay-Rohde (MD, MSc. Public Health, Policy Advisor & Project Consultant)
Ebola is a public health threat in Sierra-Leone
The Ebola outbreak in Sierra-Leone and the Mano River Region as a whole represents the deadliest in history and this has once more showed the vulnerability of a weak health system in the affected regions.
The few doctors and allied healthcare workers, who are in first line contact with the infected, have been the most vulnerable!
Protective equipment for healthcare workers on the front line treating those with the Ebola virus infection is in some areas not available or insufficient!
Not only hundreds of people have died or become infected, doctors including Dr. Sheik Umar Khan (unfortunately) and health care workers are also dying everyday!
Serious deficiencies in the working conditions of national and international doctors and allied healthcare workers dealing with the Ebola virus in Sierra-Leone and the region as a whole have been highlighted by the World Medical Association, World Health Organization, UNICEF und MSF.
So therefore, for us “medical Diasporans” who are ready to help bridge the huge human resources gap and thereby effectively contribute towards the collaborative efforts of our international colleagues, protection of all healthcare workers and those willing to travel to give their support is extremely crucial and of great importance.
A concerned citizen
Dr. Mariatu Turay-Rohde (MD, MSc. Public Health, Policy Advisor & Project Consultant)9th August 2014