Social Welfare Ministry Mounts First Survivors Conference in Kenema
Kenema, Oct. 20, 014 (MOHS) – Thirty- Six (36) Survivors of the Ebola virus disease including 26 Females and 10 Males from Kenema, Kailahun, Pujehum and Bo districts have been honoured at a two- day Survivors Conference held at the St. Mathew’s Hall, Holy Trinity Parish in Kenema. A cross-section of the survivors
Organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, the conference aimed at bringing together Ebola survivors, and map out strategy against stigmatization with a view to providing them humanitarian support for their livelihood and dignity.
Delivering his opening statement, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijue Kaikai described the day as another mild stone in the history of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone adding that the disease has affected every facet of development in the country.
He opined that as a country and people, they have manifested resilience during the 10-11 years of civil strife, describing the event as a testimony that demands the collective efforts of every Sierra Leonean.
He said the country is facing one of the biggest Ebola virus disease outbreaks in the history of the world, as about 2,800 people have been infected in thirteen out of the fourteen districts of Sierra Leone, while more than 560 have survived.
The Social Welfare Minister told his audience that they were celebrating an occasion to demonstrate support for the survived victims noting the tragedy that has befallen the country as a nation. He said he is hopeful that the conference will create a space where survivors can dialogue freely with each other as well as service providers, and to share experiences of the ordeals they went through.
He thanked the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other stakeholders for their partnership and support to the government to bring this epidemic to an end, and assured the survivors of their continued support.
Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister I, Mr. Foday Sawi, on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and all partners including UNICEF for making the Survivors’ Conference a big success.
He described the conference as timely, adding that as a Ministry they would articulate strategic policies dealing with the Ebola crisis in relation to the future of the survivors and other challenges ahead.
Mr. Sawi reiterated the Ministry’s appreciation of the great sacrifices made by doctors, nurses and other workers adding that the hard work would be rewarded for posterity, and consoled them survivors noting that most of them lost their loved ones and family members and to be thankful to the Almighty God for spearing their lives.
The Deputy Minister I commended the Ministry of Social Welfare and assured the survivors of government’s commitment to support them to improve their situation.
The Deputy Mayor, Kenema City Council, Esther Guanya Kai-Samba commended government and development partners for their relentless efforts in fighting and containing the Ebola virus disease.
Contributions were made by the Deputy Town Chief, Kenema District, Chief Francis Musa Kallon and the District Health Sister I, Matron Josephine Saidu.
Highlights of the conference include presentations by Veronica Tucker, a nurse Survivor and Dauda Mohamed Fullah, a Lab Technician Survivor.
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