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Analysis – President Koroma’s Speech on Ebola

Analysis – President Koroma’s Speech on Ebola

I frankly consider the speech made by President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Ebola to be seasoned with issues of relevance. In his opening and even closing remarks, irrespective of his religious affiliation, the speech of the President demonstrated high level of religious tolerance with a particular use of Arabic phrases ‘Ramadan Kareem’ and ‘Ramadan Mubarak’. Of course, President Koroma as we are all aware is a Christian but has undoubtedly scored high percentage in religious tolerance especially in the area of assisting Muslim brothers and sisters in performing their annual pilgrimage in Mecca.

Being humane, the speech of the President also showed heart-felt concern by firmly appealing to all and sundry to pray for victims of the dreadful Ebola disease and further cleared the doubt of many that Ebola is not just a fiction but something real and dangerous.

Notwithstanding, Ebola being a dreadful disease, the speech which I further considered apt, also raised awareness of collective responsibility of fighting the disease which cannot be only done by government as others wrongly perceived,  but rather by everyone in every political party, religion, district, city, town and village. In this regard, the speech shows how serious and determined the government is in combating the disease by providing resources to members of parliament coming from Kailahun, Kenema and Bo where the epidemic is noticed.

As the saying goes, give credit to whom credit is due, the speech recognized and appreciated efforts of individual persons, organizations, associations, religious bodies, paramount chiefs, local and international partners for their tireless efforts in combating the disease and to some extent, opportunity was provided for Ebola voluntary workers to be absorbed in the civil service as motivation.

As there were lot of argument and doubts over government’s efforts in curbing Ebola, the speech meticulously highlighted government efforts in tackling the ailment since the first reported case of the virus in the country. The said speech highlighted government prompt effort in designing an Ebola Response Plan, the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee to mobilize support across the various government agencies, establishment of National Task Force comprising committees on case management, laboratory and surveillance, logistics, communications, social mobilization, setting up of pre-referral centres in Koidu and Daru, treatment centres in Kailahun and Kenema, observation units in government hospitals and health facilities across the country and the training of 300 health workers prior to the Ebola outbreak and the perpetual training of more health workers on weekly basis.

Fully aware of the importance of collectiveness in the fight against the deadly disease, the prudent speech delivered by the First Gentleman, appealed to all especially the leadership of political parties to come up with genuine plans and actions which government will give support to get rid of the disease.

With the quest of ultimate end to this dreadful Ebola epidemic in the country, the speech conspicuously showed readiness of government by providing a colossal amount of Le.8 billion as additional money to contain the disease in the country. This venture is, of course, a clear and outstanding manifestation of government’s determination to get rid of the epidemic without much tarry.

As doubts still linger in the minds of people vis-à-vis the existence of Ebola and their subsequent recalcitrance to taking suspected cases to the appropriate health facilities thereby violating the Public Health Ordinance of 1960, the President’s address clearly instructed the police to intensify actions against those who violate the said Ordinance and that the law will severely deal with offenders.

Notwithstanding, the speech also instructs the police to ensure that all vehicles and their commuters entering and leaving Kailahun and Kenema districts by virtue of the epidemic, should be screened by the appropriate authorities at the various checkpoints, which is a good measure to control the spread of the disease.

Going through this speech and government’s subsequent effort in fighting Ebola, it is unwise and quite unfortunate to some significant extent to consider it untimely. I believe alongside with reasonable individuals that the President having put every measure in place in such a situation should first wait and see the outcome order than moving fast to address the nation as others may inconsiderably want.

By John B Koroma

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  • The carpet bombing of Western Africa will begin when casualties due to Ebola reach a specified level, US AFRICOM military leaders recently stated off the record. Any ships or planes leaving the area will be sunk after being given warning to return.

    US AFRICOM spokesman Maj. J. Lister said that the military regretted the destruction of monkey habitat but that the risks to the civilized world were too great to ignore.

    8th July 2014

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