Ebola Outbreak: Can our support make a difference?
It is indeed true that the Ebola disease is new not only to Sierra Leone as a country but also the sub-region and handling it therefore need not only considerable time but effective collaborative efforts.
Government has undoubtedly fulfilled its required obligations in addressing this strange and challenging health menace with prudent measures. One of the amazing initiatives put forward by government was that of Ebola fund raising campaign which individuals, organizations, cabinet ministers and almost every well-meaning citizen of this country have contributed to see that we bring an end to this terrible disease once and for all. The enthusiasm and determination shown by President Koroma in the fight against the Ebola virus disease is apparently incomparable to any other president in the sub region especially his counterparts in the Mano River countries where the virus has claimed unimaginable souls. It’s no mistake to say that President Koroma’s unequal determination and frank approach to bring an ultimate end to Ebola helped moved world leaders into unavoidable actions and commitments to contain the outbreak.
Meanwhile, we have also got a Presidential Task Force chaired by the president himself coordinating and supervising every Ebola related program across the country.
Apparently, government has created the enabling environment whereby we have got all technical support and expertise needed to contain this dreadful disease that President Koroma rightly described as hurricane, tsunami and earthquake, and unmistakably likened to an international terrorist. (This deliberate comparison is a clever way to ginger up international community as they normally pay much attention to such disasters with swift action). Though considered little tarry, but we have now seen cooperation from the international community in the fight against Ebola. We have received medical personnel and equipment from different countries including China, Cuba, America, England, and others to tackle the disease; almost trying to establish treatment and holding centers across the country.
However, for us to reach the ultimate destination and absolutely succeed in containing and eradicating this unprecedented and strange disease, we need the fullest cooperation of everybody more especially in areas of surveillance and total adherence to medical advice. Ebola is not a regional, political, religious, or tribal ailment. We did not wish it for ourselves as a region; we did not wish it for ourselves as a country. It is just a natural disaster that has befallen us like any other people and that the only preferable option we have as a nation is to vigilantly stand against it. We all agree that Ebola is strange but that every problem has a solution and we should do everything possible to find a lasting solution to this problem. Borrowing a page from President Koroma’s national broadcast on the outbreak; this is an extraordinary situation which needs extraordinary measures and this was why government imposed a public health emergency, quarantined homes, isolated districts, chiefdoms and certain places even in the Municipality of Freetown. We should all come onboard to expedite the process by strictly following medical dictates; passing on information of suspected cases to appropriate persons, going to hospitals immediately you experience signs and symptoms, avoiding contact with sick persons, avoid attending funerals you do not know cause of death, and so on.
Sad enough is the nefarious intention of unscrupulous individuals to undermine government efforts only to gain cheap political popularity. Government has indeed done tremendously well in the fight against Ebola yet, there are others doing everything possible to mar this effort, which is not only sad, but also an incredible disservice to the nation.
Fighting Ebola is everybody’s concern. We fight Ebola with steadfastness, decisiveness and uncompromised unity. You can only fight to gain political power when you are alive and that Ebola is no respecter of persons; be you red, green, yellow, rich, poor, religious, non-religious or male or female. It obviously has no line of demarcation. This was why Muslims and Christians were asked to observe prayers in their respective homes during the “Ose to Ose Ebola Tok” campaign. This was not done because government wanted to exercise absolute power or show disrespect for religion but rather, a way to help people live much longer and have more time to serve their God as worshiping God behooves only those who live and not the dead. After all, it pays little or no dividend for government to play politics with this menace. It’s therefore unwise and quite hazardous to undermine government’s tireless efforts to containing this dreadful disease, but wise and prudent to give our fullest support to government in this fight irrespective of political affiliations or inclinations. It would make a whole world of difference if we rally behind the government to get this scourge behind us within the shortest possible time. Together, we can fight this battle, and together we can win this battle!
By Jaramenajara and John Koroma, State House Communications Unit
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