Statement on the declaration of the end of Ebola transmission
7th November, 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the end of Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone, at an event organised by the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). As we commemorate the declaration of the end of Ebola transmission, there are many visible scars to remind us of the devastation caused by the outbreak.
The impact of the Ebola outbreak on Sierra Leone in terms of total confirmed infections and deaths has been grim. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the country recorded 8,704 total confirmed cases and 3,589 confirmed deaths. Of the 3,589 confirmed deaths there were 221 Health workers the country lost to the Ebola virus.
Many families have to go through the twin tragedies of not only losing their loved ones but also the pain of seeing them buried without paying their last respect. Families of ten, twelve or fourteen members were reduced to two, three or four as the virus almost wiped some families away. Many who survived today from Ebola continue to cope with the stigma and trauma. It is Encouraging however, there is an estimated number of about 4,051 survivors.
Perhaps our greatest heroes and heroines of the fight will forever be our health professionals and support workers. They risked their lives to save lives. At the front-line, their selfless services were exceptional knowing fully well there was always the risk that the slightest mistakes would cost them their lives. They did not succumb to their fears but showed extraordinary courage to save the lives of compatriots.
Sadly, many who showed extraordinary courage and determination could not see the end as the wicked claws of death took them away. For their bravery and selfless service to the nation and their compatriots we must honour their memory and always keep them in our prayers.
Just as the fight against the virus was crucial so too addressing the challenges of post-Ebola recovery requires proactive leadership from government, a focused approach and a call for solidarity for citizens to support the post-Ebola recovery efforts. As citizens our duty to scrutinise government policies, plans or initiatives and offer constructive criticisms must also be in tandem with our responsibility to make our contributions in the post-Ebola recovery. Reviving every aspect of our faltering economy and providing care and support to Ebola survivors must be integral in addressing our post-Ebola recovery.
The fight against Ebola was not about individuals or institutions but it was the collective determination of a Nation, her children and friends. Therefore, as Sierra Leone has been officially declared Ebola free, we want to commend the exceptional resilience of Sierra Leoneans; Health care workers and support staff; Volunteers serving as Ebola response workers: The President and Government; Officials of the National Ebola Response Centre and District Ebola Response Centres; Journalists; Civil society Organisations; The Security Forces; Members of Parliament; Opposition Politicians; The Auditor General and Team; Local Authorities; Traditional Leaders; Both Local and International Non-Governmental Organisations; International Agencies; Development Partners; Donor Countries specifically the United Kingdom, United States of America, China and Cuba and Health Professionals from friendly Nations for all the contributions which made it possible for Sierra Leone to defeat Ebola.
We are equally pleased that Rtd. Brig. Bio was also able to make his contributions in the fight against Ebola. From his June 2nd 2014 Press Release; the donation of hundreds of bags of rice and condiments across the country; the creation of education trust fund for Ebola orphans; his efforts in Ebola sensitization to the remarkable nation-wide social mobilisation tour, Rtd. Brig. Bio made his contributions as a citizen who loves his country and cares for his people.
On a cautionary note, while it is a great relief that as a nation we should recognise the achievements we have made to mark the end of the Ebola transmission, we call for continued vigilance and resilience through surveillance and rapid response.
Therefore, as we commemorate the declaration of the end of the Ebola transmission let us remember in our prayers the almost 4,000 compatriots who lost their lives in the fight including the 221 health workers. May their gentle souls rest in peace. Naturally, the public looks forward to welcoming the end of the State of Emergency so that normalcy can be fully restored in the entire country.
Julius Maada Bio Media and Communications Team
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