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PTMCC Press Briefing September 23, 2014

PTMCC Press Briefing September 23, 2014

As a nation, under the leadership of H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, we have completed the three days ‘ose-to-ose Ebola tok’ with about 75% success rate according to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) release. Overall, the entire exercise was well-organized and free of disorderliness with some observable challenges.

His Excellency the President has praised the EOC, the development partners, the non-state actors and the people of Sierra Leone for a job well-done. The president is particularly pleased with the media for the manner in which they brought the news to the people during the three days. It helped in mitigating the looming anxiety that existed in communities across the nation. The chargé d’affaires of the United State Embassy also lauded the exercise and congratulated the people of Sierra Leone for their success in the exercise.

The objectives of instilling ownership and participation, sensitization and education and setting the foundation for health sector recovery through confidence building was accomplished for the most part: About 80% of the households were reached by the teams; increased awareness and acceptance level in communities across the nation was noted by monitors and observers; hand washing with soap and clean water was promoted by the ‘ose-to-ose Ebola tok’ teams, families were guided on what to do when a member is sick; increased public confidence and trust in the healthcare system was instilled; and neighbourhood watch structures were facilitated at community level.

As expected, over 200 suspected cases were identified in communities across the country. So far, 130 have been confirmed. The EOC is expecting more confirmed cases in the next several days to come we have been told. The Director of communications in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation embedded with the EOC has stated that the process has helped the EOC identify hotspots across the country, which will enable the EOC focus much attention and resources on these identified hotspots. We hereby encourage everyone to practice the preventive measures brought to you by the ‘ose-to-ose Ebola tok’ teams in the next several months to come. We also hereby encourage health care workers to be even more determined and steadfast in delivering selfless and patriotic service to the people of Sierra Leone. All surveillance and contact tracers are hereby encouraged to be also more determined and steadfast in monitoring and tracing suspected persons of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD).

The Security sector and the burial teams are doing fine, but it has however been observed that challenges in the area of improper quarantining in some areas and delayed response by burial teams across the country persist. The foregoing became apparent during the ‘ose-to-ose Ebola tok’ and it is noted that the issue of slow response to bodies has been associated with inadequacy in personnel and vehicles. We hereby wish to draw the attention of the EOC to these issues as observed by monitors and citizens across the nation and we hope the EOC will institute corrective measures. We also hope that the EOC will scale-up efforts in the area of completing and providing more holding and treatment centres across the country.

We wish to thank all our partners, UNICEF, WHO MSF, Red Cross, IRC, CSOs, NGOs etc. for their hard-work, material, technical and financial contributions and cooperation in this time of great difficulties. The Chinese have announced an additional USD 1m in cash and USD 2m in food aid. We wish to thank the Government of China and the Chinese people for scaling up in their assistance to the people of Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. The British are setting up a 700-bed treatment centre in Kerry Town with 12 beds to be focused on treating health care workers who may come in contact and thereby contract the disease in the line of duty. The US Government has also scaled up on its aid to the affected region. The CDC is here in Sierra Leone to offer technical assistance. They are also mobilizing 3000 military personnel in the region with the command and control based in Liberia. We welcome and appreciate all assistance in the region to defeat Ebola.

We hope that, as usual, the media will continue to reduce the fear and anxiety associated with the spike in confirmed cases of EVD in the country through the dissemination of the truth about the disease. Let us be more steadfast in the fight against Ebola with the hope that the few months to come will become the mopping up period in finally eradicating Ebola from our world.

Office of the Chairman
Presidential Task Force Media Communications Committee
State House

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