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Fight against Ebola: Sierra Leoneans in Australia ship two containers of medical supplies

Fight against Ebola: Sierra Leoneans in Australia ship two containers of medical supplies

Sierra Leoneans in Australia, have through the Australian community and government, facilitated the shipment of two-40ft containers of medical supplies. The first to arrive on December, 08, worth two-hundred and twenty thousand US Dollars ($220,000), while the second (undisclosed), has left the shores of Australia on Friday, November, 07.

This comes after the formation of the ”Sierra Leone Ebola Action Group-Australia (SEAGA), through a national launching that was held at Melbourne, in August, this year, with primary aim of attracting attention to the urgency needs created by Ebola and to mobilize required resources for combatting the lethal disease in Sierra Leone.

Showing a strong sense of unity and purpose among Sierra Leoneans in Australia by bringing various stakeholders together and working diligently within an environment that is void of partisanship or social affiliation, Chapters were formed in the different States, constituting social, ethnic, political and cultural groups and organizations coupled with enthusiasm and the breadth of expertise who proved valuable towards the attainment of SEAGA’s objective.

SEAGA did not stop at nothing, but to heightened awareness and solicit support to help address the epidemic through engagements with media houses, community forums, State/Federal Members of Parliament, Local/International Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as State/Government Agencies and Departments.

In small groups, Sierra Leoneans in Australia have been holding series of meetings with their local MPs, appealing for the support of the Australian government to controlling the outbreak. And these efforts were complemented by the massive awareness being created within the broader Australian community.

One of the meetings between SEAGA and the Senator of Tasmania utterly convinced the Senator to speak about the role of SEAGA at the Senate House of the Australian Parliament. Honourable Lisa Singh, Labour Senator for the State of Tasmania, acknowledged the role of SEAGA towards the containment of Ebola and made a strong case in Senate for the Australian government to rethink its position and provide assistance on the ground to support those hard hit by Ebola in West Africa.

Apparently, this urged the Australian government to release another twenty million Australian dollars (20,000,000) to Aspen Medical Team to assist in staffing a one-hundred bed (100) hospital facility in Sierra Leone that is currently being constructed by the United Kingdom.

While SEAGA continues to explore humanitarian relief for victims of Ebola and the quarantined communities; there have been extensive contacts with relevant charitable organizations and there are positive signs for food aid, in the near future.

SEAGA’s National Coordinator, Ansumana Usman Koroma- a Community leader living in the State of Tasmania is commended for demonstrating strong leadership. He works round the clock with members across Australia to unpack the ambitious program and activities embedded in the work-plan of SEAGA.

Meanwhile, SEAGA’s persistent engagements with Australian politicians, the wider Australian community including State/Federal government Institutions among other efforts ; contributed immensely towards the decision by the Australian government to donate about twenty million Australian dollars (20,000,000) to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations to help prevent and control the epidemic in the Mano River Union (MRU) basin.

However, shipments of the two-40ft containers is directed to the Health/Sanitation Ministry for authoritative distribution. And few amongthe shipped consignments are: ”297 and 341 kilograms of Mediflex Industries/Surgical Ultra Gloves. 72 kilograms of P2 Medical Gowns/P2 Medical Masks. 136 kilograms of Sentry Chemically Protective Gowns, 456kilograms of Disposable Face Masks. Surgical drapes, Tropical weight Blankets, Sleeping Mats, Jugs and many other items. More food and nonfood items will continue to pump into the country as SEAGA lobbies for more support and as part of their citizenry contributions and obligations.

Alimamy Turay

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