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COCORIOKO » 2014 » August

Archive for August, 2014

Cocorioko congratulates Madina Rahman on her new appointment

Friday, August 29th, 2014

 

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The COCORIOKO Nwspaper Limited extends its thanks and appreciation to H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma for appointing one of our party stalwarts in Somerset ,  New Jersey, Ms. Madina Rahman, as  Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation.  The appointment once again demonstrates President Koroma’ s faith in the nation’s brains in the diaspora.

We also wish to congratulate Ms. Madina Rahman on her appointment. We are quite confident that she will justify the confidence reposed in her by H.E. President Ernest Koroma.  May God bless you and keep you on your new job as you strive to make a difference .

LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU  –ANOTHER RESIDENT  OF SOMERSET,  NEW JERSEY

MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY /COORDINATOR OF THE COMMITTEE OF TEN AFRICAN STATES ON UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM

PERMANENT MISSION OF SIERRA LLEONE TO THE UN, NEW YORK

AND PUBLISHER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER ( CEO) OF THE COCORIOKO NEWSPAPER LIMITED OF SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY

CDC Chief Assures President Koroma

Friday, August 29th, 2014

By State House Communications Unit :

Tom Frieden, Director of the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paid a courtesy call on President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House today Friday, 29th August, 2014.

It was agreed that the Emergency Operations Center should provide the expected leadership in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. President Koroma noted that government has engaged the UN Resident Coordinator, WHO, DFID and other donor partners that are stakeholders in the EOC to review the structure of the center.

CDC ASSURES HE

 

The discussions also focused on the number of treatment centers as government is overstretched with only two treatment centers in the country with limited bed capacity. The President expressed hope that the MSF extension of a treatment center in Bo will be completed by the weekend so that they can start admission. He also stressed the need for the establishment of two more treatment centers in Freetown and the north, which government is already working on.

President Koroma also registered his disappointment with the slow response from the international community since the outbreak. “As a country we have substantially reduced the initial challenges of fear, denial, ignorance and misinformation. What we are confronted with now is addressing the fight against Ebola in terms of treatment centers, training of contact tracers and surveillance officers, social mobilization, logistics and equipment that are required,” he explained.

The President called on the CDC to help in the area of logistics and experts to come and train the people in the areas of contact tracing, surveillance, and also address the limited equipment and logistical needs of the ministry.

Dr Tom Frieden expressed his admiration for the deep understanding exhibited by President Koroma of Ebola. “Very sincerely, I am very impressed with His Excellency the President’s deep understanding of Ebola and what is needed to stop it,” the CDC chief said.

He also recognized the need for a national unity approach calling on everyone to address the outbreak before it creates even much more destruction in the country. “This is number one priority for me and CDC. I will do everything in my power to make sure the entire world has that same level of priority to supporting the response here. I will be speaking with a variety of people from the global and in US on my return, but I really have to emphasize for Sierra Leone that the fastest thing will always be the thing that is at hand, and whatever can be done now should be done. I am certain many more resources will come.”

Dr Frieden called on government to use the resources at hand to rapidly get treatment centers established, contact investigation done, clear messages conveyed, such as “don’t touch sick people or their body fluids”, “don’t touch anyone who has died or their body fluids”.

He concluded by assuring President Koroma that the US government is very committed and the CDC will be here until it’s over.

Stay tuned for more on this..

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Ebola update for today Friday August 29, 2014

Friday, August 29th, 2014

                                              PRESS RELEASE

   thKAH7MB14            

MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SANITATION

Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

                                                         

 EBOLA OUTBREAK UPDATES—August 29, 2014

 

  • NEW CASES

 

  •  
  • Total Survived and Released Patients = 244
  • New Confirmed cases =[ 30, as follows:

Kailahun = 5, Kenema = 4, Kono = 0

Bombali = 12, Kambia = 0 Koinadugu = 0, Port Loko = 5, Tonkolili = 0

Bo = 0, Bonthe = 0, Moyamba = 0, Pujehun = 0

Western Area Urban = 3, Western Area Rural = 1

 

  • CUMULATIVE CASES

 

  •  
  • Cumulative confirmed deaths = 377
  • Cumulative confirmed cases = 1,018, as follows:

Kailahun = 453, Kenema = 336, Kono =1

Bombali =35, Kambia =1, Koinadugu =0, Port Loko =62, Tonkolili = 14

Bo = 35, Bonthe = 1, Moyamba = 9, Pujehun = 7

Western Urban = 40, Western Rural = 24

  • Probable cases = 37
  • Probable deaths = 37
  • Suspected cases = 62
  • Suspected deaths = 11 IMPORTANT NOTE!Koinadugu still remains the only district that has not registered confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone  
  • IMPORTANT NOTE:
  •  
  •  
  •  
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All Cash Donations are deposited at the Ebola Emergency Account managed by the EOC, and kind donations (Medicines, Equipment, Supplies, etc.) are held at the Government Medical logistics stores, Freetown, by the

Government’s fight against Ebola boosted with 88 motorbikes

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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Freetown, 29 August 2014 – The Government of Sierra Leone’s fight against the Ebola outbreak has been further boosted by UNICEF today with 88 motorbikes worth over $ 250,000.

One set of the motorbikes will be handed over to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for contacts’ tracing and Social Mobilization activities. The motorbikes will allow surveillance teams with rapid identification and monitoring of persons who may have been in contact with Ebola infected persons. Social Mobilizers will use them to be more effective in reaching remote communities to raise awareness and educate people on preventing the disease from further spreading.

The other set which will be handed over to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, will be used by teams providing psychosocial support to children who are severely affected by the outbreak. These children include survivors and those who have been orphaned by the disease as they continue to face mounting challenges in getting resettled in their communities.

“Ebola has claimed the lives of over 100 children in Sierra Leone and a growing number continues to be affected”, said Hon. Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. “Discriminating and stigmatizing against survivors, child orphans and service providers who are addressing the disease in their communities are affronts to their rights and are strongly discouraged!”

Communications and education to influence behavior change and contacts’ tracing are crucial to the fight against Ebola and with the required mobility communities could be relatively easily reached.

“Mobility is fundamental in the fight against Ebola”, said Hon Ms Miatta Kargbo, Minister of Health and Sanitation. “These bikes will facilitate activities in the field and allow Government and partners to get to the most remote communities with key messages on Ebola and trace contacts, which are vital in stopping the transmission and ending the disease in Sierra Leone”.

UNICEF is a member and supports activities in five of the pillar groups that have been set up under the Ebola Operations Center and National Ebola Taskforce. These include Coordination, Social Mobilization, Surveillance and Laboratory, Logistics and Child Protection/Social Protection pillars.

“It is of strategic importance that UNICEF and other development partners continue to support the Government with needed logistics and technical support to adequately address issues in the Ebola outbreak”, said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative to Sierra Leone. “Reaching out to communities with basic information and education and providing psychosocial support to affected children and their families could make significant differences to their lives”.

New Minister of Health appointed

Friday, August 29th, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

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DR. ABUBAKARR FOFANAH

THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS HEREBY INFORMED THAT IN ORDER TO CREATE A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF THE EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE COUNTRY, IT HAS BECOME NECESSARY FOR CHANGES TO BE MADE IN THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SANITATION. IT HAS THEREFORE PLEASED HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING APPOINTMENTS, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF PARLIAMENT:
DR. ABU BAKARR FOFANAH – MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SANITATION
Ms. MADINA RAHMAN – DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND
SANITATION II
Ms MIATTA KARGBO HAS BEEN RECALLED TO STATE HOUSE TO SERVE IN THE STRATEGY AND POLICY UNIT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
IN ADDITION, THE EBOLA RESPONSE PLATFORM HAS BEEN RECONFIGURED AS FOLLOWS:
1. IN THE CASE OF THE INTERMINISTERIAL COMMITTEE, IN ADDITION TO THE RELEVANT MINISTERS, ITS MEMBERSHIP WILL INCLUDE THE UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT COORDINATOR, THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) REPRESENTATIVE.
2. THE RECONSTITUTED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE (EOC) WILL BE CO-CHAIRED BY THE W.H.O REPRESENTATIVE AND THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER. HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT HAS GRACIOUSLY APPOINTED MR. STEPHEN GAOJIA AS OPERATIONS COORDINATOR IN THE EOC.
3. THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE WILL RETAIN ITS PRESENT COMPOSITION.
END
STATE HOUSE
FREETOWN 29TH AUGUST, 2014

IGP and CDS Visit Police and Military Ebola Deployments

Friday, August 29th, 2014

 

SLP Communications Unit :

 

The Inspector General of Police Francis Alieu Munu and the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General S. O. Williams on Friday 15th August 2014 visited police and military Ebola deployments in Bo and Kenema on a fact finding mission and to boost the morale of personnel on the ground. In Bo, the Inspector General and entourage were received by the Regional Police Commander South, Assistant Inspector General David Sesay, who briefed them about the state of preparedness of police personnel and other security actors deployed in strategic locations to contain the Ebola outbreak. AIG David Sesay said eleven areas suspected to have inhabitants who have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus had been quarantined in the Southern region, so as to control the movement of people and prevent the spread of the killer virus to unaffected areas.

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INSPECTOR GENERAL MUNU

In his statement, the Brigade Commander, South said that both the police and the military had been working in synergy by manning checkpoints and providing quarantine services. He intimated that the two main security actors would be erecting a checkpoint in Jembe, the boundary between Bo and Kenema as they had been getting intelligence that people are by-passing the main checkpoint erected in Bandama, thereby spreading the virus to people in other areas.

 

In a rather no nonsense mood, the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General S.O. Williams informed personnel about the seriousness of the Ebola epidemic and the dire need to seal off Kailahun and Kenema from the rest of the country so that the deadly virus would not spread to across the country. The military boss emphasised that the people of Sierra Leone rely on the security sector to step up the necessary security measures geared towards tackling the epidemic and cautioned personnel not to betray the confidence and trust which the people have reposed on them, noting that they should be vigilant, professional and ethical in the exercise of their duties. Major General S.O. Williams also addressed the military Brigade Command in Bo and Kenema.

 

The Inspector General of police Francis Alieu Munu in his address to police personnel said that the role of the police in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak is crucial as the disease is very serious and has the tendency to wipeout an entire generation. The police boss said that the disease is spread through body contact and everything should be done to contain it, as the mortality rate is very high.

 

Noslina contributes to Ebola Relief efforts in Sierra Leone

Friday, August 29th, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

 

National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America (NOSLINA) Contributions to EBOLA Relief Efforts in Sierra Leone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         

AUGUST 28, 2014

 

Contact: Suna Nallo

Phone: (+1-410) 412-4311    Email: noslina2011@aol.com                               Website: www.noslina.net

 

The Board of Directors and Directorate of the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America (NOSLINA) is pleased to inform the public that approximately 4,750 pounds (a total of 9 skids, weighing between 425 and 785 pounds each) of urgently needed materials to combat the deadly EBOLA virus are scheduled to arrive on Saturday, August 30, 2014, at Freetown’s Lungi International Airport.

The items are being transported to Sierra Leone from the United States through the coordination of Airlink, a 24/7 disaster response organization that links pre-vetted NGO’s with airlines for air and cargo transportation, Brussels Airlines, UPS (for trucking) and ALAN (truck coordination and pallet preparation).

In a letter addressed to Hon. Miatta Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, NOSLINA requested that the items, upon receipt, “be expeditiously distributed to parts of the nation thatcurrently are in most dire need and have been most severely impacted by the virus and its lingering effects”.

noslinacontributions

NOSLINA MAN ALPHA JABBIE ( LEFT ) WITH MEDSHARE REP.

Donated items were received through the kindness of many, including but not limited to: the Southeastern Region of Medshare in Decatur, Georgia; Standard Textile of Cincinnati, Ohio; the Hawthorne/Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)/ Lennox Rotary Club; Dr. Harry Heiman and Ms Lerissa Smith, both with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, Maryland. They include exam gloves, surgical gloves, obstetric gloves, gauze bandage rolls, disposable thermometers, cannula, safety glasses/goggles, face masks, disposable protective clothing, feeding tubes, shoe covers, blankets, bed sheets, pillow cases, and much more.

Efforts – from start to finish – to accomplish this monumental task have been supported by many, including His Excellency Ambassador Bockari Stevens, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States, without whom this project could not have been accomplished.

In a brief message of acknowledgement, Dr. Brima Kargbo, Chief Medical Officer of Sierra Leone, thanked Ambassador Stevens for his “selfless efforts to ensure we control the spread of the Ebola virus”.  Dr. Kargbo also went on to share his appreciation of NOSLINA by stating that “On behalf of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to NOSLINA for this wonderful gesture. The items are coming at a time when we needed them most. I would also want to assure all that they will be adequately distributed.”

 

ABOUT AIRLINK

 

Airlink is a 24/7 disaster response organization that links pre-vetted NGO’s with airlines for air and cargo transportation. Through the Airlink program, disaster response teams can be mobilized to affected areas in a timely manner; disaster victims can receive delivery of necessary relief, supplies and the support that ultimately will help them rebuild their lives.  Airlink’s reach is global, with an air transportation network that is constantly expanding as crisis, natural disasters, etc. are on the rise around the world. Airlink has supported humanitarian initiatives on every continent.  Since its inception in 2010, Airlink’s airline partners have flown approximately 3,300 passengers and transported 800,000 lbs. of cargo.

 

ABOUT NOSLINA

 

Since March 1998, NOSLINA has served as the leading Sierra Leone Diaspora organization in the US. Its core values and operational code are based on the unique diversity of its membership.  Accordingly, it promotes the interconnectedness of its members within the US and strengthens links between the Diaspora and homeland.  Specifically, the group has been supporting community projects and other initiatives at home in such areas as education; health and sanitation; cultural arts; advocating good governance and citizenship; and publicly recognizing Sierra Leoneans and individuals of Sierra Leone descent or parentage, friends of Sierra Leone and related entities in the Diaspora for their professional accomplishments and distinctive contributions to Society.  For additional information, please contact NOSLINA Executive Director Suna Nallo at noslina2011@aol.com or at +1-410-412-4311.

Ebola Donations

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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DONATIONS:
Financial Donations to the Government of Sierra Leone for the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak received so far by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation either directly or through the Office of the President
Institution /Individuals
Amount(Leones)
Amount($)
Airtel
170,000,000

 

Mercury International
100,000,000

 

Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) LTD
21,500,000

 

Sierra Leone Roads Transport Authority
100,000,000

 

Cabinet Ministers
308,872,271

 

Unknown (cash payment during Airtel Fund Raiser)
250,000

 

Unknown(paid directly into the bank account
53,850,000

 

Unknown (paid directly into the bank account)
60,000,000

 

National Petroleum (NP) SL LTD
110,000,000

 

Association of SL Commercial Banks
150,000,000

 

Balani & Sons
50,000,000

 

Capitol Radio
9,000,000

 

Bockarie Stevens
24,000,000

 

Zain
50,000,000

 

IPAS
43,500,000

 

Transnational SL Ltd
45,000,000

 

Sheku Kamara
2,000,000

 

Unknown (paid directly into the bank account)
100,000,000

 

Franklyn Rogers
500,000

 

Angoleo Nurses
21,000,000

 

Family Kingdom
4,500,000

 

National Tourist Board
39,750,000

 

National Tourist Board
2,000,000

 

NASSIT
100,000,000

 

Wusum Hotel
3,000,000

 

Kimbima Hotel Extension Rehab
2,500,000

 

Chicken Land
250,000

 

Hotel Food and Drinks
500,000

 

Freetown Dinner Club Ltd
50,000,000

 

Bo Teltac
500,000,000

 

University of Sierra Leone
50,000,000

 

Paladio Disco Restaurant
2,500,000

 

Sierra Leone Bar Association
100,000,000

 

Mercury Operations
250,000,000

 

Fawaz Building Materials
50,000,000

 

Munazamat Al-Dawa Al Islamia
25,000,000

 

India Merchantile
150,000,000

 

RMFA
100,000,000

 

Koidu Holdings Ldt
220,000,000

 

Kingho Investment company Ltd
400,000,000

 

World Vision
300,000,000

 

GGEM Services
200,000

 

Milton Margai College
20,000,000

 

Benco Trading Co Ltd
50,000,000

 

Mantrac
20,000,000

 

IAMTECH
25,000,000

 

Ibrahim Moshen & Sons
25,000,000

 

Balanta Academy
800,000

 

Advocacy Movement
200,000

 

Amieh H. Kabia
100,000

 

Global Trading Group
25,000,000

 

Fawaz Building Materials
20,000,000

 

Allies Jewelery
6,000,000

 

ALZ Building Materials St
10,000,000

 

M A Reda & SL Ltd
5,000,000

 

Gen Import Trading
50,000,000

 

Shawke Shaw
5,000,000

 

Samir Hassanyeh
5,000,000

 

Mustapha Abu Tarraf
10,000,000

 

Gen Import Trading
50,000,000

 

Vinod Khatumal
100,000,000

 

Womens Network
200,000

 

Milton Margai College
5,000,000

 

Sierra Leone Insurance
82,000,000

 

A A Enterprises
10,000,000

 

Commodities Trading
100,000,000

 

Sierra Leone Evironmental Protection Agency
400,000,000

 

Ghana International Bank PLC

25,000
Justice Salimatu Koroma
10,000,000

 

Freetown Terminal
50,000,000

 

Sierra Rutile
1,000,000,000

 

H M Diamonds
100,000,000

 

All Peoples Congress Party
50,000,000

 

Universal Trading and Supplies
200,000,000

 

Best Food Ltd
46,000,000

 

D&S Associates Petrol Trading C/O Prosperity Ladies
25,000,000

 

Sayaba Enterprises. C/O United Council of Imams
20,000,000

 

Foodland Supermarket
25,000,000

 

IBIS
40,000,000

 

EcoBank
225,000,000

 

Sierra Leone Labour Congress
70,000,000

 

Cluff Gold SL Ltd
40,000,000

 

The Tony Elumelu Foundation

100,000
H. E. Shiek Prof. Alhaji A J J Jameh

500,000
Mano River Union Secretariat
33,750,000

 

Bollore Logistical Services, SL Ltd
30,000,000

 

• KPMG Chartered Accountants = Audit Services, Ebola Emergency Account.
IMPORTANT NOTE:

All Cash Donations are deposited at the Ebola Emergency Account managed by the EOC, and kind donations (Medicines, Equipment, Supplies, etc.) are held at the Government Medical logistics stores, Freetown, by the Ebola Logistics team, for processing, storage and equitable distribution as required throughout the country.

ISSUED BY:

The Ebola Viral Situation Report, Ministry of Health and Sanitation

For more information, please contact:

District level: District Health Management Team
National level: Directorate of Disease Prevention and Control,
E.mail: dpcsurveillance@gmail.com
Website: www.health.gov.sl
Mobile: 117 (Toll free)

Guinea Ambassador calls on Information Minister Alpha Kanu

Friday, August 29th, 2014

By Septimus Kanu :

The New Guinean Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone. His Excellency Fode Camara, on Thursday,28th paid  a courtesy visit on  the Minister of Information and communications, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Bakarr Sahid Kanu,to familiarize himself with members of the government, as he settles down to work  in sierra leone .

ALPHAKANUANDAMBASSADORGUINEA

 

The Hon.Minister, started by introducing his staffs,  the Permanent secretary Mr. Paul Sandi, and the Director of Communications, Mr. Abubakarr Tarawally. The  Minister, further explained that,a year or so there was no Ambassador to fill the position very well, which was necessary , due to historical link between  our countries . The Minister ended up by welcoming the newly appointed Ambassador Fode Camara,from the People’s Republic of Guinea to Sierra leone.

In his statement, Ambassador Fode Camara,said he was  extremely happy to meet with the Honourable Minister of information and communications,and the people of Sierra Leone. He said the link between these two countries demands that they should foster all steps in order to fight this scourge of Ebola . He further stated that these three sisters countries,Guinea, Sierra Leone,and Liberia,are connected in the web of humanity because they have  a shared experience.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Fode Camara,stated that indeed Sierra Leone  Guinea and Liberia are sister  countries and he will like to use this medium to send out a message to the world that indeed they will adopt a compromise approach to fight this dreadful Ebola disease.

The  Permanent secretary seized the  moment to express the popular saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. He said the Ministry of information will cooperate and ensure that the relationship sustains.

THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN : At the Kailahun Ebola Frontline in August

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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August 16, 2014: While President Ernest Bai Koroma was hosting an ‘Ebola Press Conference’ in State House, Freetown, Sierra Leone born and bred film producer, owner/manager of  B-Trixx  film productions, ‘cyber journalist’,  Jaime Yaya Barry,  was guarding  two international journalists into the epicenter of the  Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone, Kailahun District.  The journalist were  Samuel Aranda of the National Geographic  magazine, one of the most widely-read  and credible magazines in the world; and  Ben Solomon  of the New York Times, about the most influential newspaper among the cream of United States’ elite.

 

Ebola is one of hottest international news today

 

The Ebola Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has been one of the biggest and hottest stories on ALL powerful globally-highly-rated  print and electronic media over the past two months.  Like bloodhound,  they are just two of the international journalists following the ‘blood trail’ of Breaking News into the three Mano River Countries.  On August 28, 2014, I spoke briefly with the cerebral Special Adviser to the President for Research, Dr.  Mohamed Gibril Sesay,   in his office at State House (he is also part of the new Communications Committee of the Ebola Operations Command), and he was emphatic that the big challenge to win the Ebola War is….”details…details…details…”; a daunting challenge he said, because too many Sierra Leoneans are inclined to be “generalists….superficial….”, and almost always would  ignore details; while the Ebola Situation demands “details” at all levels of the chain  – from suspecting a person has the Ebola virus, to diagnosing the person….quarantine of the person…; and, where necessary…identifying those who have come in contact with the infected person…; burial of a person struck dead by the Ebola virus…..disinfecting….sterilizing medical equipments, etc. “Each mistake in details in any of this  chain could mean disaster”, Dr. Sesay said, his tone rising, atypically.  In the following paragraphs as I bring out details of  someone just from the ‘Ebola Frontline’, I ask that we all reflect on Dr. Sesay’s words…

At about 10.00 am,   Jaime and the  National Geographic and New York Times journalists  left the Red Cross center at Kailahun Town, which is like the Ebola Operational Command Center in the district. .  The two foreign journalists, Samuel and Ben,  were in one Toyota Pathfinder; and, Jaime rode alone with a driver  in another Toyota Pathfinder.  They were travelling to a ‘potential Ebola burial case’ with a team of ‘Ebola burial team’.  They were six of them in a Nissan Pathfinder jeep; there was another open back jeep accompanying them for the ‘suspected Ebola corpse’.   The vehicles were on rental to the Red Cross for $100 a day; there were few people willing to rent  their vehicles to the Red Cross to bury ‘actual or real Ebola fatalities’.   One of the few people who was willing to rent out his vehicle for Ebola burials pulled it out after a single day the vehicle was used to bury  six ‘Ebola Victims’.  The man feared ‘bad luck’ on his vehicle.   Jaime, the foreign journalists,  and the  Ebola burial team went  to a village called Jojoima, two hours drive from Kailahun Town, on one of the worst roads in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anybody who dies in Kailahun is treated like an ‘Ebola suspect case’

Four days earlier, a report had been made of a woman aged 83 years who had died in Jojoima.  There is a  RECENT ‘Ebola law’ in Kailahun that ALL cases of death would be treated as ‘Ebola suspect cases’; and NO ONE should bury any corpse, except a report had been made in the Ebola Center in Kailahun Town; and ONLY the Ebola burial team should be doing ALL burials in Kailahun, Jaime was told.   The Ebola burial team were only able  to  respond to the call from  Jojoima  four days after  they had been called; and that was coincidentally when the journalists arrived  – because they were busy in other villages, burying corpses.

When the journalists arrived in Jojoima they met the corpse already buried  – in violation of the ‘new Ebola law’ on burials.  The reason the villagers gave was the corpse was already getting rotten, as they had no morgue, or, ice, or, anything to preserve the corpse with.    The ‘Ebola burial team’ simply turned back, and went to Daru…  They didn’t interview anyone. They didn’t do any investigation as to what would have happened. They simply promised the villagers that they would return, and exhume the body; and do their investigation as to whether the death of the woman was caused by the Ebola virus.   The village is in an area where it is difficult to get ‘network’ to use one’s mobile phone.  Villagers have to move out of the village, and climb a hill to telephone outside of the village.  The Ebola burial team learned that the corpse of the deceased woman had been washed, and clothed.  But, they didn’t bother to make contact with those who had washed the corpse.

 

The Ebola Burial Team are Treated Worst than Lepers in Kailahun

 

Jaime spoke with the leader of the burial team,  Daniel James, and  one other man,  called Kandeh Kamara. They were all in the 20s.  They were being paid Le60,000 daily for their work  – a work disdained and feared by villagers who have  made them a pariah among their own families. No one wants them around!! They would be  laughed at, and shunned,  even within Kailahun Town.  It was difficult for them to get any place to rent, as everyone in the town fears  them –  ‘the Ebola boys’.    Why have they taken the job which is so much reviled by others in the township? Survival!!  School boys who could barely earn Le50,000 a month doing any job in the district were now earning about Le1,200,000 monthly doing ‘Ebola burials’.

From Jojoima, they moved back to Daru, and fueled their cars, then, travelled to Gbekie, in Jwalahun Chiefdom.   They went to the house where the corpse of  a former nurse, Hawa Ansumana, was laid.  She has a partial stroke three years before she died.

 

The villagers had washed the corpse of a ‘suspected Ebola case’; touching it….; wailing!!

 

Before the burial team went to take the corpse for burial, they dressed up in their now ‘feared’  ‘Ebola protective clothing’.    While they were dressing up, about five women rushed in and out of the verandah room where the corpse was, carting out mattresses, pillow cases, buckets, bowls, etc.  They wanted to protect these items from being ‘infected’ by the Ebola burial team.  At the door of the room where the corpse laid were seated two young men – who were said to be two of the sons of the deceased. They also would move in and out of the room, wailing, and gnashing teeth; and, would be consoled by other villagers, hugging them.

 

The ‘Ebola burial team’, fully clad in their bright yellow and turquoise space-ship-like suits, then went into the room where the corpse was…Spraying everywhere.  They put the corpse into a body bag, and on  to the open back vehicle.   A huge crowd of villagers followed the corpse to the cemetery.  Those who had been moving in and out of the room where the ‘suspected Ebola case’ was were being hugged, embraced, and consoled.

….

The eldest son of the deceased woman, Ansumana Yusuf, told Jaime that their mother had been accused for long for being a witch. As a nurse, and a midwife in the area,  most often than not, when she would try to bring a baby into the world, the baby would die.  They said the luck of the deceased woman ran out when she assisting a woman to deliver her baby – a woman who had been given exceptionally powerful charm by a renowned ‘fetish man’ in the area. So, the deceased was  ‘destroyed’ by  a charm before she could put witchcraft on the baby she was about to deliver.  Jaime asked  Ansumana whether he had touched the corpse of her mother; and he said “yes”.

 

While the foreign journalists were talking photographs, Jaime had to pass on vital information on how Ebola would be spread to Ansumana and other villagers within earshot.  The Ebola burial team had not bothered to talk with the villagers.

 

When Jaime and the foreign journalists were back at the Luawa Resort in Kailahun Town, Ansumana called to ask whether it was safe for them to sleep in the room which had been sprayed by the Ebola burial team.  It was Jaime who had to telephone the Red Cross to relay Ansumana’s question.  Jaime was told that it would be safe after twenty four hours.   He passed the information back to Ansumana.   Before the day ended, Ansumana called back and told Jaime that the family of the deceased had decided not to use the house at all – not convinced by what the Ebola burial team had told them.

 

Hyper-Ebola Awareness in Kailahun Town!! “Don’t Touch” is said by everyone

Jaime told me that there appeared to be hyper Ebola awareness in Kailahun. He said that it appears as if everyone, young and old, children and market sellers,  would utter  the English words, “Don’t touch” – when you get a bit close to them. No one is shaking hands in Kailahun Town.  All the public places – cinemas, nightclubs, etc. – have been shut down.    There are hordes of youth and children moving from house to house doing Ebola sensitization.  They appeared oblivious of any incentives from the central government for them to do such sensitization.   It was not like that when there was the first Ebola outbreak about four months ago.

Then, the first Ebola victims who were vomiting blood, and exuding blood from their noses, were said to have suffered a ‘witchcraft attack’.    The chief of Daru was actually implored by the people to make special sacrifices to ward off the suspected witchcraft attack.

 

There appear to be only two  Ebola burial teams in the entire Kailahun District.  I wonder whether they are equipped to put into motion the detail….detail…detail….which Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay said would be vital for success in the Ebola War.   I wonder what the National Geographic magazine  and New York Times journalists would write about what they saw in Kailahun this August.