All Secret Society activities banned in Makeni
Paramount Chief Bai Sebora Kassangha II of Bombali Sebora Chiefdom, Northern Sierra Leone has said that activities of all secret societies in Makeni and the entire Bombali district have been temporarily banned as a result of the Ebola outbreak.
This means that the Bondo, Poro, Gbangbani, Orjeh and Hunting societies are to adhere and help raise awareness by sensitizing their various communities about the deadly Ebola virus disease.
Presenting the By-Laws at the official launching ceremony of the Unite Against Ebola Awareness Campaign organized by Health For All Coalition civil society in partnership with the Bombali district and City Councils at the Wusum Stadium in Makeni, Paramount Chief Kassangha told his audience that the By-Laws instituted are within the general consensus of the Ministry of Local Government, Council of Paramount Chiefs and the Sierra Leone Parliament.
Dilating on the By-Laws, the Paramount Chief said public gathering, trade fair (Lumors), sale of bush meat, hunting bush animals, and Burial ceremonies- Three (3), Seven (7) and 40 days ceremonies all temporarily banned till further notice. Defaulters he said are liable to both punishment and fines, with the least being Le.500,000.
The Paramount Chief added that harboring suspected or positive cases of the Ebola, Spreading false rumour and disseminating misleading information, Failure to report death and burial, drugs peddling and treatment of patients at home are crimes punishable by law.
Paramount Chief Kassangha strongly warned Herbalists and Spiritual Healers to avoid treating patients at home or in their shrines, pointing out that defaulters would face the full penalty of the Law both by a fine or an expulsion.
Launching the campaign, the Resident Minister North, Alie Kamara reiterated his commitment to ensure that the By-Laws are implemented in the entire northern region and commended Health For All Coalition for the initiative and partnership with the two local councils to mount the campaign.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the unreasonable hiking of prices on commodities, and called on the Police to help enforce the law on what he referred to as an unacceptable action by traders and some cross section of the business sector.
Mr. Kamara told his audience that the Ebola outbreak is beginning to dwindle in his region, and that denial is being almost buried with a satisfactory sense of awareness in the district.
The Resident Minister commended the Police, the Military and the District Health Management Team in Bombali for the effective partnership and team work in the fight against the spread of the disease.
The District Medical Officer, Dr. Tom Sesay disclosed that the first Ebola case in the district was in July 23, 2014 from Gbomsamba Village, adding that seven (7) cases have been reported in the district as at launching time of August 17, 2014 with five (5) confirmed deaths.
He said New London in Makeni is the other affected area, and appealed to the Makeni people and the entire Bombali district to cooperate with the medical team by helping them with information that would benefit both the community and the Contact Tracers and Surveillance Officers.
Health For All Coalition Executive Director, Charles Mambu reiterated President Koroma’s clarion call for all to be involved in the fight to contain the outbreak, and commended the Resident Minister and team for being proactive in the fight, adding that the By-Laws would go a long way in complementing their efforts and that of the government.
Other speakers include the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who was from a joint security assessment mission with the Military Chief of Staff in the Kailahun and Kenema districts. He highlighted major key issues on the current security situation and encouraged the general public to take the necessary precautionary measure against the Ebola virus disease.
By Jonathan Abass Kamara
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