Alarming – Ebola Kills 124, Infects 385 … God Bless Sierra Leone
The dreaded Ebola killer disease has so far killed 124 people and infected 385 in Sierra Leone where it entered recently, via the Guinea border.
This has been confirmed by the Communication Officer in the Disease prevention and Control Programme in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Harold Thompson, during a recent press briefing at the national headquarter office of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).
Already, the deadly disease is reported to have seriously hit the eastern districts of Kailahun and Kenema where it has killed several people, among them a journalist named Mwalem Sherrif, who is said to have died in Kenema shortly after touching an Ebola corpse.
Now there are growing fears that the disease may invade the capital city, Freetown, especially with the few reported cases of Ebola deaths in the city.
For now, Ebola is the most notorious word in Sierra Leone where the government, led by President Ernest Bai Koroma, has called on every Sierra Leonean to wage an all out war on the killer epidemic. Apparently, almost all Sierra Leones have positively responded to the government’s call as the nation is now gripped by a wave of anti-Ebola activities.
A series of anti-Ebola training workshops are being held right round the country; almost all newspapers and radios now carry Ebola in their banner headlines.
One interesting fact is that Ebola has succeeded in drastically reducing the rate at which people were eating especially bush meat during the pre-Ebola era. The abstinence from bush meat is due to the widely disseminated message that bush meat is a habitat of the Ebola virus.
Many people are now afraid of shaking the hands of their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers for fear of Ebola. Many trade fares have suspended their activities due to Ebola.
Making matters worse is the sad fact that Ebola has started killing even the health workers. Ebola has reportedly killed three nurses in Kenema City, a situation that reportedly triggered a sit-down strike at the government hospital there.
It is only now that it has dawned on Sierra Leoneans that, indeed, they are confronted by a calamity. When the disease broke out a few months ago, many Sierra Leoneans downplayed and politicized it. It was believed that the disease was a political invention to depopulate the eastern region ahead of the 2014 census and in preparation for the 2018 polls.
Other Sierra Leoneans propagated the wrong perception that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation was intentionally injecting Ebola into children to access donor funds. This misperception sprang from the fact that the outbreak of the disease coincided with the immunization week when the ministry was administering vitamin A to children. There are others who misperceive the Ebola disease as a pestilence for the rampant evil plaguing this nation.
Now the disease has taken a high toll that has alarmed the nation and almost every Sierra Leonean has become Ebola-conscious. Humanitarian organizations have begun to raise concern over the fate of the orphans created by the numerous Ebola deaths.
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