President Koroma calls for final push to flush out Ebola
Port Loko, March 20 (SLENA) – President Ernest Bai Koroma has called for a final push to flush Ebola from the country. He said the National Ebola Response Centre is now mapping programmes aimed at bringing the country to zero Ebola cases which will shortly be rolled out to the various districts. Photos showing some of the activities during the President’s visit
The President made the statement in Port Loko during an assessment tour of the Ebola situation in the north of the country. He said Port Loko is one of the districts with a leading Ebola figures in spite of all the inputs by both the Government of Sierra Leone and its development partners The President said it is so because people have continued doing the things they should not have been doing. He said even though the Ebola fight is big and tough, yet the virus would have been eliminated by now, should people chose to do what was required of them.
The Head of State catalogued some of the reasons that have placed the nation under sustained pressure to ensure that Ebola is eradicated from the country without further delay. One of these is his recent commitment at the Mano River Union that the fight against Ebola should end within 60 days.
He said the issue is worrying particularly now when the sister countries of Guinea and Liberia were already on the verge to be declared Ebola Free States. Another potential threat why the spread of the virus must be stopped by all means, the president said, has to do with the pending rainy season during which period the virus is believed to be much more difficult to combat.
President Koroma further spoke on the immense set back Ebola has caused this nation, citing the developments that have since been put on hold with a particular reference to the education sector as children have been out of schools for far too long.
His Excellency said Port Loko ought to be Ebola free by now as Government and its development partners have made a lot of inputs into the district. He informed the mammoth gathering about some of the districts that have been scoring zero Ebola cases for over 40 days and stressed the need for the people of Port Loko to redouble efforts so that those districts that have done so well will not be kept waiting.
While commending the organisers of the meeting for the good turnout, he expressed optimism that they can make it to the desired target if they chose to do so. He cited the issue of Lokomasama and Kaffu Bullom Chiefdoms which were properly handled with concerted efforts when they became Ebola hot spots. The Head of State emphasised that a district or the country as a whole can only be declared Ebola Free when there is a 42 day record of no Ebola figures.
The Resident Minister/North, Hon. Alie Kamara, who chaired the meeting, said the President was on his usual Ebola assessment tour. He said the current leg of the tour started from Kambia and would be proceeding to Bombali and Tonkolili Districts from Port Loko. He re-echoed the need for collaborative efforts in order to stop the spread and flush out the virus without further delay.
In his contribution, the Port Loko District Medical Officer, Dr Adikali Alpha Kamara said the Ebola fight has been intensified since the last visit of the President to the district and that several chiefdoms were now recording zero cases. He singled out Sanda Magbolonton as one of those chiefdoms that have gone beyond three months without any recorded case of Ebola. Dr. Kamara disclosed plans by the District Health Management Team to resume normal health services in the District.
He said plans were underway to ensure that Mano River Union meeting those nurses, teachers and school going pupils who got themselves enrolled as Ebola workers must go back to their respective places.
He was buttressed by the Deputy Director of Education in the district, Mr. Briama Taimu Koroma who stressed the need for both the teachers and pupils who were serving as ‘Ebola workers’ to be now released by the various employers.
He said his directorate has been desperately working in accordance with the National Plan for the Reopening of Schools. He said even though a needs assessment has been conducted and a District Taskforce on Teaching and Learning Materials formed to fast track the process, yet there are challenges in terms of decontaminating the schools that have been used either as holding or treatment centres as well as rehabilitating and providing water facility to every other school in the district.
Raymond Kabia is the Coordinator for the District Ebola Response Centre in Port Loko. He used the opportunity to brief the President on the efforts so far made by both his office and the District Taskforce in trying to scale down the Ebola cases in the district.
He spoke of the bottom-top approach as one of the current strategies through which they as Coordinators will tap from the stakeholders on what else would they like Government and its development partners to do so that Ebola can be driven out the district.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Paramount Chief of Koya Chiefdom, Alhaji Kompa Bomboli who is also the Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, endorsed that President Ernest Bai Koroma has indeed made several Ebola related visitations to the district and expressed the hope that they will now do all that is required of them as traditional leaders to end Ebola in the district so that the subsequent visits will focus on something else.
The vote of thanks was moved by the Chairman of the Port Loko District Council, Ahmid Munirr Fofana. He did not only thank the President and hisentourage for the untiring efforts and fatherly role in the fight against Ebola in the country, but also informed him about plans to award any chiefdom that is able to score zero Ebola cases for a period of 42 consecutive days. He on behalf of the people of Port Loko district assured that there will be zero Ebola cases from now on.By Hassan Bruz Credit SLENA
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