As part of her moves to end Ebola, Minister Konomanyi summons local authorities
As determined as her boss, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to completely eradicate the Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mrs. Diana Finda Konomanyi-Kabba over the weekend summoned all the 149 Paramount Chiefs and 19 Heads of Local Councils at the Family Kingdom Resort in Freetown.
Key objective among the worthy issues discussed in the meeting was how to map out mechanisms that will actively involve local authorities in the fight to completely eradicate Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The one day orientation was centered on the topic: “Community-Level Ebola Response Strategy” and attracted several other distinguished personalities from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies and health partners across the country.
Giving her keynote address at the meeting, Mrs. Diana Finda Konomanyi Kabba expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the local leaders for responding to her call.
She said their willingness to attend a meeting that was called by her clearly demonstrated their continued collaboration to the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.
Mrs. Konomanyi-Kabba said the fight against Ebola can never be achieved in Sierra Leone without a collaborative effort by both local and national authorities.
She said as a country Ebola can be defeated but with the right structures and mechanisms being put in place. She said local authorities are adequately represented in every village and town in Sierra Leone and called on them to stop putting forward meaningless and bogus budgets to fight Ebola in their communities. She encouraged them to join hands in supporting the Ebola fight in the country using their self-raised resources.
The minister welcomed the good news that the locally produced Ebola Bylaws in Kenema and Kailahun have been fruitful with lesser figures of reported cases in those areas now. This according to her is because the local authorities in those parts of the country are properly implementing the new local council bylaws on Ebola.
She encouraged local authorities in other parts of the country to implement the bylaws in other to stop the spread of the virus in their communities.
The minister also encouraged all local authorities to serve as Contact Tracers and Surveillance Officers if they are to win the fight against Ebola in their communities.
She called on the EOC to quarantine Ward C in Waterloo, Western Area Rural District, so that the rapid spread against Ebola in the district will be curtailed.
She said the said Ward has been the new hub for the spread of Ebola in the Western Area and that to date the community was yet to be quarantined.
Earlier welcoming the local leaders at the meeting, Deputy Chairman, Council of Paramount Chiefs, Paramount Chief Kono Bundu said the meeting will go a long way to end Ebola in Sierra Leone, whilst assuring that they as local leaders will ensure the step in actively to the fight.
He said local authorities are very important in any national issue and that the roles they have played since the passing of the local bylaws have helped greatly in reducing new cases in most parts of the country.
For his part, National Coordinator of EOC, Mr. Steve Ngaujah expressed thanks and appreciation to the Minister of Local Government for her leadership role in involving local authorities to the fight against Ebola in the country. He said the bylaws that was established by her ministry together with the Paramount Chiefs has helped immensely in the fight against the virus countrywide.
Ngaujah revealed that President Koroma has reconfigured the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) into a separate entity that will have a robust command and control structure to effectively eradicate Ebola. In that regard he said the EOC has been renamed as the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC).
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Fofanah expressed the need for all paramount chiefs to be partners in stopping the spread of Ebola in the country. He said President Koroma has been working assiduously in the fight against the virus and that his effort has won the support of international partners in the fight.
By Alhaji Dauda Musa Bangura
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