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COCORIOKO » 2014 » September

Archive for September, 2014

Hon. Alpha Kanu Pioneers the Establishment of an Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief

The Information and Communications Minister –Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu is undeniably one of the Ministers in the Cabinet of the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma that is very much committed in ensuring that the war against Ebola is won in record time. He has not only been very active in helping People shift their cultural and Traditional beliefs in which the virus used to be associated with, but he is also said to been the brain behind what can be referred to as the Local Pattern of ‘making do with the little you have at hand’. He calls it the Local Content Policy art of ‘killing the snake with the stick you have than waiting for a redeemer that is slow in showing up.

ALPHAKANUSENSITIZES  1

 

The ideology seemed to have gained a centre space in the quest for a workable solution to confront the Virus when the World was paying a deaf ear to the cries of Government for an immediate intervention. His Excellency –President Ernest Bai Koroma set up an Emergency Ebola Fund and encouraged his Cabinet Ministers to contribute about 50 percent of their Salaries to commence the fight. Sources say President Koroma also had cause to divert funds initially intended for Development Projects when the International Body was so slow in intervening.

ALPHAKANUSENSITIZES 2

 

Hon. Alpha Kanu as in the case of every other well meaning Descendant of Port Loko is perturbed by the escalating figures of Ebola related cases emerging from his home District. The Port Loko District Members of Parliament have just concluded a Sensitisation Campaign on the basic facts about Ebola at Constituency Levels in addition to the series of General Meetings conducted in the District Headquarter Town on how to prevent an infection of the virus. Perhaps it is as a result of all of these efforts that such huge figures of Ebola cases have continued to surface in the District.
Whatever your perception is, the fact remains that these figures are very scaring and the People of Port Loko should once again seek for a way that would bail them from this embarrassing situation. It was recently resolved that the proposed Ebola Treatment Centre at Gbom Samba be relocated to Port Loko for obvious reasons as the Information Minister would say it. Apart from the fact that the Gbom Samba Project was painfully slow, the Location has never been ideal enough. I gathered that President Koroma was quite displeased with the clumsiness at the Gbom Samba Site which has subsequently compelled the authorities to think of alternatives.

It was at this juncture that the Information and Communications Minister has once again resurfaced in the forefront with an unfading appetite to have his People redeemed from the clutches of this killer disease. He has since been desperately searching for a place all this while until now when he seems to have secured one. It is the former Skills Training Centre for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society at Old Port Loko towards New Maforki Town. He was physically there last evening to have the preliminary modalities where I caught up with him for a brief interview.
Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu described the new found Place as most ideal for the intended purpose of an Ebola Treatment Centre. He said one of the advantages it has is that the Land is vast and isolated with existing structures which could only require a few rehabilitations and refurbishments. He said some Youths have so far opted to clean up the entire Place adding that the Centre would be ready within a couple of days. He spoke of the encouraging results emerging from the Holding Centre at the Government Hospital in Port Loko where about half a dozen People have been successfully treated and discharged to rejoin their relatives in the respective homes.

The Information and Communications Minister expressed optimism that the fight will soon be winnable banking on the fact that some Cuban Medics have already deployed in the District while the British Team is expected any time from now to ensure that the virus is deflated sooner than later. He said it is obvious that the virus can easily be nabbed now that most Natives have refrained from the denial syndrome after the series of sensitisations as well as the apparent determination of the International Body to intervene in salvaging the situation.

You now have the opportunity to glance at the Site of the Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko which was visited by Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu…….

Ebola: Sierra Leone UN Minister, New Jerseyans meet with New Jersey Department of Health officials at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

 

Ebola:  Sierra Leone UN Minister, New Jerseyans meet with New Jersey Department of Health officials at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick

Representatives of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and New Brunswick, NJ based Saint Peters Healthcare System held a crucial meeting with some concerned Sierra Leoneans and Liberians during which they assured West African citizens that they will help their countries overcome the Ebola outbreak through awareness campaigns.  The meeting was requested by Dr. M. Carolyn Daniels, Executive Director, Office of Minority & Multicultural Health of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and hosted by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System under the auspices of the Executive Director, Community Outreach and Diversity Initiatives, Tabiri M. Chukunta, D. Min.

During the meeting, Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the UN, Mr. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, gave details of the steps that the Government of Sierra Leone had undertaken to combat the Ebola outbreak, including the setting up of the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), the declaration of a state of health emergency, the quarantining of communities, purchase of 20 ambulances (16 of which had already arrived), mobile biomedic labs and the 3-day lockdown to start on September 19.  He made a desperate appeal for medical supplies, including drugs and protective gears, and logistics for healthcare personnel and the burial crew involved in the Ebola fight.  “I cannot stress enough the dire need for these supplies”, the Minister said.  “We take these materials for granted in the U.S., but these supplies like gloves, goggles, masks, gowns, chlorine, bleach, hand sanitizers and protective gears are the difference between the destruction and survival of our country”.

Messrs Pavi Jalloh, Hadi Gabisi and Shamsu Deen-Cole of Sierra Leone and Mr. Joseph Tolbert of Liberia, re-echoed the appeal.

Mr. Pavi Jalloh said that just last year international institutions listed Sierra Leone as the fastest growing economy on the continent with a 14% growth rate, and “we want to make sure that Ebola does not reverse the gains we have made over the years democratically and economically.  Therefore, we need immediate international support to stop the spread of Ebola in the region”.

The New Jersey Department of Health team was headed by Dr. Carolyn Daniels and included Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, MD representing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Suzanne Miro, a community health expert for New Jersey.

The discussions centered not only around the provision of medical supplies and logistics direly needed in West Africa to fight Ebola but also what could be done to West Africans in New Jersey to sensitize them, understand how the outbreak affects them and how to protect them, especially given the incidence of relatives and friends coming to visit from the Ebola affected countries.

Dr. Daniels emphasized that the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health was very concerned about people in the community and how the outbreak affects them.  She said that she was at the meeting to find out what West Africans needed in terms of awareness campaigns to help mitigate the spread of Ebola.

Dr. Daniels provided a huge stack of sensitization brochures provided by the New Jersey Department of Health for distribution in the community.  The brochures are designed to help residents here avoid infection in their back-and-forth travels to West Africa and to help them reach out to people back home with information to stop the transmission and spread of the virus.  Mr. Deen-Cole suggested that the brochures be distributed to churches, mosques, entertainment spots and throughout the community.  He also called on the NJDOH to identify places and hospitals where medical supplies could be received.

Dr. Prathit Kulkarni stated that he is a physician with the CDC with specialty in the outbreak of diseases.  He said that he helps to identify possible cases of Ebola and offers advice to the NJDOH.

The importance of information and sensitization was stressed at the meeting.  NJDOH and CDC officials postulated that because of the tremendous influence West Africans have with relatives back home, they could sensitize them effectively.  They suggested the use of telephone text messages, among other things, about the dos and donts of Ebola which will play a significant role in stopping the spread of the virus.  The extensive discussion covered awareness programs for West Africans residing in New Jersey as relatives and friends visit from the Ebola affected countries.

In his closing remarks, Rev. Chukunta, D.Min., who moderated the meeting, thanked everybody for their input and described all the suggestions as important.  He noted that there are things that the NJDOH and CDC can do and things that the community can do for itself and he promised to continue the dialogue.

 

CDCSITTING

THE IMPORTANT EBOLA MEETING AT THE ST PETER’S UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER YESTERDAY

 

CDCSTANDING

ATTENDEES TAKE A GROUP PHOTOGRAPH AFTER THE MEETING

 

CDCSTANDING2

MINISTER KABS-KANU ( SECOND FROM RIGHT ) POSES WITH CDC AND DOH OFFICIALS

 

CDCSTANDING3

MR. PAVI JALLOH ( SECOND FROM RIGHT ) POSES WITH CDC AND WHO OFFICIALS

 

Ebola:  Sierra Leone UN Minister, New Jerseyans meet with New Jersey Department of Health officials at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick

SIERRA LEONE MAKES HER MARK ONCE AGAIN AT UN

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Congratulations are pouring in for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara, and members of the Sierra Leone delegation for another remarkable representation at the United Nations General Assembly.

Full story coming .

PHOTO : A proud Dr. Samura Kamara and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The Secretary-General with H.E. Mr. Samura M.W. Kamara, Foreign Minister, Sierra Leone

SAMURA KAMARA OVERWHELMED AT UN– CROWDS SURGE TO CONGRATULATE HIM AFTER IMPRESSIVE UNGA STATEMENT

Monday, September 29th, 2014

samura kamara mobbed

Pictures tell the story of a million words. Here is a photo of diplomats and delegates lined up to shake hands with the Minister after the delivery. 

 

Sierra Leone’s Dr. Samura Kamara was overwhelmed by surging crowds of diplomats and delegates who were coming to hug and shake hands with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation after a well-delivered statement this evening on behalf of President Ernest Koroma at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Foreign Minister’s statement went down well with the thousands of delegates and diplomats attending the General Assembly.

The statement , among many things, thanked UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, for his constructive and dynamic leadership, and his laudable initiatives on issues of sustainable energy and climate change, among others.

The statement also expressed the nation’s appreciation for the robust response of the Secretary General to the Ebola epidemic and promised that Sierra Leone will continue to support “these highly ambitious and commendable initiatives for a better and safer world.”

The Minister made a very strong presentation about the Ebola virus presently plaguing the country and the subregion : “We were rebuilding our infrastructure, implementing policies that were increasing our growth rates; improving our healthcare and literacy indicators; enhancing our peace; and strengthening our democracy. We were contributing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in other lands, as a share of our peace dividend. The world was lauding us for doing so many things right; for being a symbol of fast paced recovery from a 10-year devastating civil conflict; for promoting and protecting human rights; and for advancing an impressive path of socio-economic reconstruction. We were gearing up our healthcare system to fight the known ailments of our land, such as malaria, maternal and infant mortality, Lassa fever, tuberculosis and typhoid, when Ebola struck. ”

The Minister outlined the measures that the Government had taken to combat the disease : “As a country, we have taken extra-ordinary measures, including declaring a state of emergency, and shutting down the country for three days to get health educators unto every household in the country, and today, most of our people know that Ebola may show the same signs as a person with malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and other infectious diseases, but, it is far more deadly; and there is need to modify behavior to counter its transmission.”

The Minister reiterated President Ernest Koroma’s appeal for international help and warned that “Ebola has taken a stranglehold on the socio-economic prospects of the country, and we further risk reversing the hard gains we have achieved in Peacebuilding.”

HERE IS THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW :

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Heads of State and Government,

Colleague Ministers,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

IMG_2428

I bring you fraternal greetings and very best wishes from His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and his beleaguered people. President Koroma deeply regrets that he is unable to participate in this 69th General Assembly due to obvious reasons. He has however instructed me to deliver to you this message from him, and I quote:

“I congratulate you on your election to conduct the affairs of the 69th Session of this august Assembly and to assure you of the support and cooperation of my country, Sierra Leone, during your tenure. To your predecessor, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, let me, on behalf of my Government and people, express our appreciation for his astute leadership and skill in smoothly directing the work of the last Session of the General Assembly.

My sincere thanks and appreciation also go to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for his constructive and dynamic leadership of the Organization. Sierra Leone deeply appreciates his forward looking and laudable initiatives on issues of sustainable energy and climate change, among others. In particular, I appreciate his robust response to the Ebola epidemic that is causing so much havoc to our lives, our dignity, and our very existence. We will continue to support these highly ambitious and commendable initiatives for a better and safer world.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone commends you for the choice, appropriateness and sense of urgency of the theme of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, and we join you in calling for a structured dialogue, strengthened global partnership and enhanced cooperation for its achievement. Sierra Leone wishes to reiterate the need to generate the required global political will to address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by focusing on implementation gaps as well as on new and emerging challenges. As Chair of the g7+ Group of countries, Sierra Leone reaffirms the call of this group of Fragile and Post-conflict States for the support of Goal 16 of the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the need for Peace and Capable Institutions as a stand-alone goal in the final list of priorities under the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Mr. President,

My country is at the battlefront of one of the biggest life and death challenges facing the global community. As I stated in my address to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Meeting on Response to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak, Ebola is a threat, unlike previous threats, not because something similar had never occurred before, but because this threat has mutated into a phenomena for which my country, my region, and the global community were grossly ill prepared. Isolated communities in the world are becoming less so in our globalized world; mutating viral diseases like Ebola could no longer be neatly isolated by just one isolated country in one isolated corner of the world. The Ebola outbreak in our region is the very first example of a world challenged by globally weak infrastructure and human capital public health and surveillance systems for dealing with faster occurrences of animal to human, and human to human transmissions of highly contagious diseases, made possible by quicker transportation, increasing urbanization and dense networks of people moving between rural and urban areas, and across borders.

We have been slow to meet this new challenge because no one recognized this confluence of trends could emerge with such virulence in West Africa. Our international partners were slow to recognize the threat for what it was, and when the recognition did come, it came with a spontaneous reaction of fear and panic that led to the closure of borders and imposition of travel restrictions to and from Sierra Leone and our sub-region.

This is the very first time Ebola got to our region and my country Sierra Leone. We did not bring it upon ourselves. We were rebuilding our infrastructure, implementing policies that were increasing our growth rates; improving our healthcare and literacy indicators; enhancing our peace; and strengthening our democracy. We were contributing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in other lands, as a share of our peace dividend. The world was lauding us for doing so many things right; for being a symbol of fast paced recovery from a 10-year devastating civil conflict; for promoting and protecting human rights; and for advancing an impressive path of socio-economic reconstruction. We were gearing up our healthcare system to fight the known ailments of our land, such as malaria, maternal and infant mortality, Lassa fever, tuberculosis and typhoid, when Ebola struck. Based on the knowledge we had, based on the advice we were given by our international partners, we mobilized to meet this unfamiliar threat. But the staff, equipment, medicines and systems we had were inadequate and this slowed our effective response.

Several months down the line, the international community has finally come around to the better view that the Ebola Outbreak is a challenge for everyone; and that Sierra Leone and its sister Republics may be at the frontline of this fight, but it requires the heavy aerial and ground support of the world to defeat an outbreak, which in many ways, is worse than terrorism. As a country, we have taken extra-ordinary measures, including declaring a state of emergency, and shutting down the country for three days to get health educators unto every household in the country, and today, most of our people know that Ebola may show the same signs as a person with malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and other infectious diseases, but, it is far more deadly; and there is need to modify behavior to counter its transmission.

Mr. President,

Socio-economic disruptions are already being felt. We are no longer able to uphold our cultural systems and practices, including the shaking of hands, as we gladly receive each other, and religious and communal burial ceremonies. Our people live in fear and cannot understand the nature of a disease that claims a life and prevents family members from burying their loved ones. The indeterminate suspension of several on-going development projects, and the disruption to farming, mining, manufacturing, construction, tourism, trading and public transportation, following the outbreak of Ebola, are now undermining the growth and human development prospects of the country. The IMF has estimated that GDP will drop by 3.3 percent in 2014 – from 11.3 percent to 8 percent. Ebola has taken a stranglehold on the socio-economic prospects of the country, and we further risk reversing the hard gains we have achieved in Peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

We salute the great efforts of countries as well as international and national organizations that have committed resources to our common fight. We welcome the adoption of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 2177 of 2014 and its General Assembly concurrence A/Res/69/1, both of which have recognized the Ebola Outbreak as a threat to international peace and security. We also salute the Secretary-General for his initiative of establishing the first ever UN emergency health mission, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), to lead a concerted and coordinated effort to contain and defeat this scourge within the sub-region.

Let us also know that to defeat the disease, and future outbreaks anywhere in the world, we must improve our capacities for quicker response. In Sierra Leone, this calls for faster deployment of staff, medicines and equipment at the global and national levels. Globally, faster response warrants quickening the pace of resource mobilization and disbursements as well as the development of vaccines and curative medicines. Nationally, our effort must rapidly translate into effective urban and rural community response initiatives. Any break in this chain of fast response makes the challenge more difficult to meet, and not meeting these challenges would result in more deaths in our country, and greater possibilities of the virus mutating and spreading into areas where it is currently absent. The world needs a faster Global Response Infrastructure to deal with this new trend that is today manifesting itself in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but to which no country could be immune. Ebola is running faster than us, and for an impacting start, treatment beds must surpass Ebola cases. Only when the number of available beds surpasses the number of cases can we say Ebola is under control. This is a fight for all of us; we must prove that humanity will be equal to this new challenge to our collective existence.

We also believe it is high time this Assembly makes its voice heard on flight bans and cancellations to our countries, following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The World Health Organization and many others have advised against these blanket flight bans. We therefore urge member states to re-examine their policies of isolating and stigmatizing Ebola affected countries and their respective citizens. The world is too globalized for policies that shun engagements with a democratic nation. The UN was founded on a mandate to confront human insecurity, and not on shunning it. This organization was also founded on the principles of doing better. We strongly request this fidelity to the founding ideals of our global organization.

Mr. President,

Despite the daunting challenge facing us as a nation and sub-region, Sierra Leone will continue to remain a trusted and strategic partner in the global effort towards eradicating poverty, achieving sustainable peace, stability and development. My Government is determined and committed to forging more intense engagement with all countries, especially within the context of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile and Post-conflict States.

As Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the United Nations, we will continue to advance the African Common Position on the reform process of the United Nations by reaching out and engaging with other interest groups in a bid to reach a common understanding towards an acceptable remedy for a strong, inclusive, united, transparent and accountable United Nations Security Council. While the world now acknowledges the historical injustice that Africa is the only continent that is not represented in the permanent category and, at the same time, under-represented in the non-permanent category of the Security Council, it is about time for this organization to take the bold steps to put into practice our reaffirmation of the equal rights of nations, large and small. Indeed, as we gear up ourselves to celebrate 70 memorable years of the existence of the UN, it is an appropriate time for this organization to promote the principle of sovereign equality of all its members, and to ensure to all, the rights and benefits resulting from membership.

Mr. President,

We are encouraged by the progress made in strengthening peace and democracy within member countries of the Mano River Union, and we shall continue to support initiatives for the sustenance and growth of democratic order, peace and security in the sub region. We will continue to adhere to the ECOWAS protocols for peace, democracy and stability, and we will sustain our support for the building of the ECOWAS logistical depot in Sierra Leone. We firmly support the African Union Rapid Intervention initiative for peace keeping and peace support operations. We have also ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Protocols thereto. We are presently working towards their domestication.

My Government will continue to contribute troops and support international peacekeeping operations for international peace and security and, we will accordingly, seek capacity building and other support in these laudable ventures. We are however dismayed by the current trend of events in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, and other parts of the world still in conflict. We will commit Sierra Leone in the global search for common agreement on the root causes of these conflicts and encourage dialogue, for a resolution that would be peaceful and sustainable. We support the two INDEPENDENT STATES’ solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sierra Leone condemns any act of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the world in general, and in Africa, in particular. Terrorism is a common enemy to international peace and security. Sierra Leone prides itself with its high level religious tolerance, and we believe that people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds must be able to coexist in peace and harmony everywhere in the world. We likewise view acts of drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, marine piracy, cybercrime, abductions and all other organized or unorganized transnational criminal activities as serious threats to global peace, stability and development. My Government will strengthen national capacities and contribute through international cooperation to prevent and combat these crimes.

Mr. President,

As a post conflict country, we are aware that sexual violence in conflict is one of the greatest and most persistent injustices in the world today. We are therefore supportive of the UK Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and subsequently, the ‘Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’. We support the work of the UN Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. We also fully support the UK Government’s leadership in promoting global advocacy against the use of children in armed conflicts.

We are seized of unfolding developments at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, we are supportive of the efforts to ensure judicial accountability in ways that are respectful of Africa’s concerns for the ability of its statesmen and women to steer the countries of the continent towards greater security, reconciliation, peace and development.

My Government will continue to support the work of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). We are committed to the moratorium on the death penalty and have gone a step further in the process of commuting capital offences to life imprisonment in our statutory books.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, whilst applauding the international community for supporting our aspirations, we wish to remind the world that fighting the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa is a matter of life and death for the whole of humanity. The World Health Organization finally got it right when it declared the outbreak as a global health emergency; but an emergency requires a response faster than what obtains currently. We can defeat Ebola and, as already noted by experts, future outbreaks of diseases of this nature anywhere in the world can also be defeated by quickening the pace of response. Our understanding of this unprecedented outbreak is better now than at the beginning, and our response has also improved. While our capacities are getting better coordinated there is still room for strengthening these to ensure effective national ownership and leadership of all response mechanisms. Undoubtedly, we can do better than what obtained at the beginning of the outbreak, and we must do all we can to end this grave threat to our collective survival. We will also continue our engagement with all stakeholders to build our public health system beyond Ebola.

Mr. President,

On the occasion of the 69th UN General Assembly, let me reiterate our deepest condolences to the families and relatives of all our brave men, women and children who have lost their lives through the EBOLA Virus Disease. May The Father Most High receive their souls and the souls of all faithful departed into His Merciful Hands.

I thank you”.

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara,  today  SEPTEMBER 29, 2014, addressed the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly . BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT.

 

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Heads of State and Government,

Colleague Ministers,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

IMG_2428

I bring you fraternal greetings and very best wishes from His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and his beleaguered people. President Koroma deeply regrets that he is unable to participate in this 69th General Assembly due to obvious reasons. He has however instructed me to deliver to you this message from him, and I quote:

 GA pm

I congratulate you on your election to conduct the affairs of the 69th Session of this august Assembly and to assure you of the support and cooperation of my country, Sierra Leone, during your tenure. To your predecessor, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, let me, on behalf of my Government and people, express our appreciation for his astute leadership and skill in smoothly directing the work of the last Session of the General Assembly.

 

My sincere thanks and appreciation also go to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, for his constructive and dynamic leadership of the Organization. Sierra Leone deeply appreciates his forward looking and laudable initiatives on issues of sustainable energy and climate change, among others. In particular, I appreciate his robust response to the Ebola epidemic that is causing so much havoc to our lives, our dignity, and our very existence. We will continue to support these highly ambitious and commendable initiatives for a better and safer world.

 

Mr. President,

 

Sierra Leone commends you for the choice, appropriateness and sense of urgency of the theme of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, and we join you in calling for a structured dialogue, strengthened global partnership and enhanced cooperation for its achievement. Sierra Leone wishes to reiterate the need to generate the required global political will to address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by focusing on implementation gaps as well as on new and emerging challenges. As Chair of the g7+ Group of countries, Sierra Leone reaffirms the call of this group of Fragile and Post-conflict States for the support of Goal 16 of the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the need for Peace and Capable Institutions as a stand-alone goal in the final list of priorities under the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

 

Mr. President,

 

My country is at the battlefront of one of the biggest life and death challenges facing the global community. As I stated in my address to the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Meeting on Response to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak, Ebola is a threat, unlike previous threats, not because something similar had never occurred before, but because this threat has mutated into a phenomena for which my country, my region, and the global community were grossly ill prepared. Isolated communities in the world are becoming less so in our globalized world; mutating viral diseases like Ebola could no longer be neatly isolated by just one isolated country in one isolated corner of the world. The Ebola outbreak in our region is the very first example of a world challenged by globally weak infrastructure and human capital public health and surveillance systems for dealing with faster occurrences of animal to human, and human to human transmissions of highly contagious diseases, made possible by quicker transportation, increasing urbanization and dense networks of people moving between rural and urban areas, and across borders.

We have been slow to meet this new challenge because no one recognized this confluence of trends could emerge with such virulence in West Africa. Our international partners were slow to recognize the threat for what it was, and when the recognition did come, it came with a spontaneous reaction of fear and panic that led to the closure of borders and imposition of travel restrictions to and from Sierra Leone and our sub-region.

This is the very first time Ebola got to our region and my country Sierra Leone. We did not bring it upon ourselves. We were rebuilding our infrastructure, implementing policies that were increasing our growth rates; improving our healthcare and literacy indicators; enhancing our peace; and strengthening our democracy. We were contributing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in other lands, as a share of our peace dividend. The world was lauding us for doing so many things right; for being a symbol of fast paced recovery from a 10-year devastating civil conflict; for promoting and protecting human rights; and for advancing an impressive path of socio-economic reconstruction. We were gearing up our healthcare system to fight the known ailments of our land, such as malaria, maternal and infant mortality, Lassa fever, tuberculosis and typhoid, when Ebola struck. Based on the knowledge we had, based on the advice we were given by our international partners, we mobilized to meet this unfamiliar threat. But the staff, equipment, medicines and systems we had were inadequate and this slowed our effective response.

Several months down the line, the international community has finally come around to the better view that the Ebola Outbreak is a challenge for everyone; and that Sierra Leone and its sister Republics may be at the frontline of this fight, but it requires the heavy aerial and ground support of the world to defeat an outbreak, which in many ways, is worse than terrorism. As a country, we have taken extra-ordinary measures, including declaring a state of emergency, and shutting down the country for three days to get health educators unto every household in the country, and today, most of our people know that Ebola may show the same signs as a person with malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and other infectious diseases, but, it is far more deadly; and there is need to modify behavior to counter its transmission.

Mr. President,

Socio-economic disruptions are already being felt. We are no longer able to uphold our cultural systems and practices, including the shaking of hands, as we gladly receive each other, and religious and communal burial ceremonies. Our people live in fear and cannot understand the nature of a disease that claims a life and prevents family members from burying their loved ones. The indeterminate suspension of several on-going development projects, and the disruption to farming, mining, manufacturing, construction, tourism, trading and public transportation, following the outbreak of Ebola, are now undermining the growth and human development prospects of the country. The IMF has estimated that GDP will drop by 3.3 percent in 2014 – from 11.3 percent to 8 percent. Ebola has taken a stranglehold on the socio-economic prospects of the country, and we further risk reversing the hard gains we have achieved in Peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

We salute the great efforts of countries as well as international and national organizations that have committed resources to our common fight. We welcome the adoption of the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 2177 of 2014 and its General Assembly concurrence A/Res/69/1, both of which have recognized the Ebola Outbreak as a threat to international peace and security. We also salute the Secretary-General for his initiative of establishing the first ever UN emergency health mission, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), to lead a concerted and coordinated effort to contain and defeat this scourge within the sub-region.

Let us also know that to defeat the disease, and future outbreaks anywhere in the world, we must improve our capacities for quicker response. In Sierra Leone, this calls for faster deployment of staff, medicines and equipment at the global and national levels. Globally, faster response warrants quickening the pace of resource mobilization and disbursements as well as the development of vaccines and curative medicines. Nationally, our effort must rapidly translate into effective urban and rural community response initiatives. Any break in this chain of fast response makes the challenge more difficult to meet, and not meeting these challenges would result in more deaths in our country, and greater possibilities of the virus mutating and spreading into areas where it is currently absent. The world needs a faster Global Response Infrastructure to deal with this new trend that is today manifesting itself in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but to which no country could be immune. Ebola is running faster than us, and for an impacting start, treatment beds must surpass Ebola cases. Only when the number of available beds surpasses the number of cases can we say Ebola is under control. This is a fight for all of us; we must prove that humanity will be equal to this new challenge to our collective existence.

We also believe it is high time this Assembly makes its voice heard on flight bans and cancellations to our countries, following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The World Health Organization and many others have advised against these blanket flight bans. We therefore urge member states to re-examine their policies of isolating and stigmatizing Ebola affected countries and their respective citizens. The world is too globalized for policies that shun engagements with a democratic nation. The UN was founded on a mandate to confront human insecurity, and not on shunning it. This organization was also founded on the principles of doing better. We strongly request this fidelity to the founding ideals of our global organization.

Mr. President,

 

Despite the daunting challenge facing us as a nation and sub-region, Sierra Leone will continue to remain a trusted and strategic partner in the global effort towards eradicating poverty, achieving sustainable peace, stability and development. My Government is determined and committed to forging more intense engagement with all countries, especially within the context of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile and Post-conflict States.

 

As Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State on the Reform of the United Nations, we will continue to advance the African Common Position on the reform process of the United Nations by reaching out and engaging with other interest groups in a bid to reach a common understanding towards an acceptable remedy for a strong, inclusive, united, transparent and accountable United Nations Security Council. While the world now acknowledges the historical injustice that Africa is the only continent that is not represented in the permanent category and, at the same time, under-represented in the non-permanent category of the Security Council, it is about time for this organization to take the bold steps to put into practice our reaffirmation of the equal rights of nations, large and small. Indeed, as we gear up ourselves to celebrate 70 memorable years of the existence of the UN, it is an appropriate time for this organization to promote the principle of sovereign equality of all its members, and to ensure to all, the rights and benefits resulting from membership.

 

Mr. President,

 

We are encouraged by the progress made in strengthening peace and democracy within member countries of the Mano River Union, and we shall continue to support initiatives for the sustenance and growth of democratic order, peace and security in the sub region. We will continue to adhere to the ECOWAS protocols for peace, democracy and stability, and we will sustain our support for the building of the ECOWAS logistical depot in Sierra Leone. We firmly support the African Union Rapid Intervention initiative for peace keeping and peace support operations. We have also ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Protocols thereto. We are presently working towards their domestication.

 

My Government will continue to contribute troops and support international peacekeeping operations for international peace and security and, we will accordingly, seek capacity building and other support in these laudable ventures. We are however dismayed by the current trend of events in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, and other parts of the world still in conflict. We will commit Sierra Leone in the global search for common agreement on the root causes of these conflicts and encourage dialogue, for a resolution that would be peaceful and sustainable. We support the two INDEPENDENT STATES’ solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

Sierra Leone condemns any act of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the world in general, and in Africa, in particular. Terrorism is a common enemy to international peace and security. Sierra Leone prides itself with its high level religious tolerance, and we believe that people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds must be able to coexist in peace and harmony everywhere in the world. We likewise view acts of drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, marine piracy, cybercrime, abductions and all other organized or unorganized transnational criminal activities as serious threats to global peace, stability and development. My Government will strengthen national capacities and contribute through international cooperation to prevent and combat these crimes.

 

Mr. President,

 

As a post conflict country, we are aware that sexual violence in conflict is one of the greatest and most persistent injustices in the world today. We are therefore supportive of the UK Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and subsequently, the ‘Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict’. We support the work of the UN Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. We also fully support the UK Government’s leadership in promoting global advocacy against the use of children in armed conflicts.

 

We are seized of unfolding developments at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, we are supportive of the efforts to ensure judicial accountability in ways that are respectful of Africa’s concerns for the ability of its statesmen and women to steer the countries of the continent towards greater security, reconciliation, peace and development.

 

My Government will continue to support the work of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). We are committed to the moratorium on the death penalty and have gone a step further in the process of commuting capital offences to life imprisonment in our statutory books.

 

Mr. President,

 

In conclusion, whilst applauding the international community for supporting our aspirations, we wish to remind the world that fighting the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa is a matter of life and death for the whole of humanity. The World Health Organization finally got it right when it declared the outbreak as a global health emergency; but an emergency requires a response faster than what obtains currently. We can defeat Ebola and, as already noted by experts, future outbreaks of diseases of this nature anywhere in the world can also be defeated by quickening the pace of response. Our understanding of this unprecedented outbreak is better now than at the beginning, and our response has also improved. While our capacities are getting better coordinated there is still room for strengthening these to ensure effective national ownership and leadership of all response mechanisms. Undoubtedly, we can do better than what obtained at the beginning of the outbreak, and we must do all we can to end this grave threat to our collective survival. We will also continue our engagement with all stakeholders to build our public health system beyond Ebola.

 

 

 

Mr. President,

 

On the occasion of the 69th UN General Assembly, let me reiterate our deepest condolences to the families and relatives of all our brave men, women and children who have lost their lives through the EBOLA Virus Disease. May The Father Most High receive their souls and the souls of all faithful departed into His Merciful Hands.

 

I thank you.

 

 

 

 

MPs to be audited after Ebola Campaign

Monday, September 29th, 2014

 

By ABC Secretariat Communications Unit

CHERICOCOEBOLLA
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chernoh M. Bah

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Honourable Chernoh M. Bah has told members of Constituency 99 that Members of Parliament (MPs) are going to be for the funds allocated to them from the Constituency Development Fund for the Ebola campaign.

He discussed this at the launching of the constituency Ebola campaign on Saturday, 13th September, 2014. ”As the Chairman of the Public Account Committee, I have informed Audit Service to do a special audit for Members of Parliament” he disclosed.

Hon. Bah also mentioned that the time for accountability will come, but what is most important now is to fight Ebola. He told them that the said money is for Members of Parliament to expend with transparency and accountability.

He encouraged those that are in the Ebola campaign exercise to continue their good work and forget about detractors that are that they are using Ebola funds for their selfish ends.

The Deputy Speaker emphasized that Ebola is real, and that the government needs the support of all Sierra Leoneans to succeed in eradicating the epidemic. He congratulated the Councilors and the constituents for being so robust in their Ebola sensitization on behalf of their Member of Parliament.

Hon. Bah called on Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora especially those in the medical field to come home and help the government rather than criticizing the efforts of the government, ”other countries are sending expatriates to Sierra Leone to come and help to control the virulent disease, so Sierra Leoneans abroad can copy their examples” he said.

Honourable Amadu Fofanah who spoke on behalf of Hon. Knox Sankoh (the Parliamentarian) for the constituency, lauded the efforts of the constituents and their councilors who are working relentlessly on behalf of their Honuorable.

He registered Parliament’s willingness to work with the people of Constituency 99, ”we are always available to help you as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament said.”

He reiterated that the country’s fight against Ebola surrounds positive attitude and behavior, he therefore encouraged them to take the lead in the country’s Ebola campaign by doing more sensitization and abiding to the precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Other parliamentarians such as Hon. Alhassan Kamara, Michael Sho-Sawyer and many more graced the occasion.

NANNETTEEBOLA

 

The National Coordinator of ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas Speaking at the Ceremony

The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas said that the fight against Ebola hinges on positive attitude and behaviour.

During the programme, she stressed that the country is facing an increasing rate of Ebola cases because of our negative attitude towards Ebola, general health and hygiene.

Madam Thomas informed members of the constituency that if we are to win the war against Ebola, all of us need to be very positive and accept the preventive measures that medical practitioners have prescribed such as taking sick persons to hospitals, reporting Ebola suspected cases to authorities and not to bury any dead person without ascertaining the cause of the death.

She also noted that Ebola is a dangerous virus that needs concerted effort to eradicate it, ‘‘let us all support the government and its international partners in this fight” she called. She stressed that we must all sacrifice what we have to strengthen the war against Ebola virus.

The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the Secretariat further told the people of Constituency 99 not to forget that the country is under a State of Public Health Emergency. Therefore, they should avoid all public gatherings that are not for the purpose of Ebola sensitization like going to cinemas.

The Chairman of the occasion, Mr Alfred J. Dumbuya a seasoned civil society activist noted that civil society members have taken their positions to support the government as their role is not only to criticise the government.

”We are engaging the international community in the fight against Ebola in the country” he stated, affirming that Ebola is real and that there is need for the nation to do more sensitization.

Members of the Calabash Production staged an educative Ebola sensitization melodrama with messages of how Ebola transfers through body contact, the signs and symptoms, precautions and why people should report suspected cases to the appropriate authorities.

CALABASJH

 

Members of the Calabash Production, Performing an Ebola Sensitization Skit

ACC INTERCEPTS RICE SUPPLY MEANT FOR EBOLA QUARANTINED HOMES

Monday, September 29th, 2014

ACC INTERCEPTS 4250kgs OF RICE SUPPLY MEANT FOR EBOLA QUARANTINED HOMES

At about 20-21:00hrs on Saturday 27th September 2014, the ACC together with other stakeholders including the Sierra Leone Police and the Health For All Coalition (HFAC), intercepted two vehicles; a Salini Salcost vehicle with registration number ACW 443 driven by one John Sesay and a Toyota Land Cruiser with registration number 73CD24 driven by one Edith J. Kargbo of WFP.

th3PIZAVZ7

At the time of interception around Watson Street, Masuba, in the Makeni Township, the suspects were actively involved at odd hours contrary to WFP operational procedures transferring 50kg bags of rice from the truck to the WFP Toyota Land Cruiser. A total of 69bags of rice were found in the Salcost vehicle, while 16 bags, which is about 800kgs of rice, were loaded in the WFP vehicle, purportedly for distribution to quarantined homes. The exercise was taking place in the absence of other members of the EOC.

 

The Makeni Police Division, headed by LUC G.M Turay, the ACC and ONS are investigating the matter. Meanwhile, the drivers of the two vehicles, the DMO, the District Nutritionist and the WFP Programme Assistant in the region, Mahmood Kamara, are helping the Police with the investigations.

 

Sign: ………………………………..                               Sign:…………………………………..

Patrick Sandi, Deputy Director,                                                ASP Ibrahim Samura

Public Education and Outreach Department              Head of Media and Public Relations

Anti-Corruption Commission                                         Sierra Leone Police

“Ebola is not part of us and therefore it must go” Says: – AMB Bassir

Monday, September 29th, 2014

             STATE OF ISRAEL TO SEND IN DOCTORS AND DRUGS TO FIGHT EBOLA

“Ebola is not part of us and therefore it must go” Says: – AMB Bassir

A consignment of medical drugs, equipment and Doctors from the State of Israel is expected to arrive soon in Sierra Leone as part of the Government of Israel’s contribution in helping to fight the deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

This was disclosed to Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Senegal H.E Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir by the Israeli Ambassador in Senegal.

kadibassirISRAEL

 

Following, Government’s appeal to the International Community for financial and other logistical support in the fight against the outbreak of the Ebola virus, the Government of the State of Israel was approached by Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir through its Ambassador in Dakar Senegal for the donation of drugs and other medical equipments.

After the meeting between the two Ambassadors that was described as fruitful, a list of required medical items for the treatment of the disease was requested by the Israeli Ambassador and urgently forwarded to Israel for his Government’s attention and action. Among what Ambassador Bassir told her counterpart was that ‘The deadly Ebola virus is no part of us and therefore it must go and be eradicated by all means possible’

The authorities in Israel has now through its Ambassador in Senegal reliably informed the Sierra Leone Mission in Senegal, that a consignment of medical drugs and Doctors are expected to land in Freetown shortly to help in the fight against the Ebola virus that has become an alarming International emergency.

On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone Ambassador Bassir expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the Government and kind people of the State of Israel for the gesture, which she described as ‘sharing the pains and suffering of the people and contributing to the cause of humanity’

BY: Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr,

Information Attaché,

Embassy of Sierra Leone,

In Senegal and The Gambia.

 

The Greatest Wedding of Doris Harding and Charles Bright

Monday, September 29th, 2014

 

By Sanpha Sesay (The Texas Chief)

Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A: September 26, 2014. The joy spread to the reception Ballroom at Marriot Hotel in Fort Worth after a sacrament of marriage was performed by Pastor Emmanuel Botchway at Hope International Church early afternoon of September 20th.So at their September 20th, Doris Harding and Charles Bright breathed a huge sigh of relief when they saw hundreds of friends and relatives made it to their never-to-be forgotten wedding in the state of Texas.

It was amazingly to the couple for seeing the event organizers spent extra time by continuing the ode to the great expectations of Mr. and Mrs. Bright matrimony. Pastor Dr. Emmanuel Butchway meticulously performed the marriage ceremony at Hope International Church followed by a reception in a sumptuous Marriot hotel ballroom.

The couple believes that their wedding was not to impress anyone, but it was about redirecting their gaze toward Christ’s work through the word of God about marriage. However, the story was not a fairy tale, but it was an extraordinary event in their lives. It was a good-naturedly directed event.

The occasion has many activities set in the program. Most fascinatingly were the classic wedding toasts. Many friends and relatives were honored to make a toast. The wedding toast was one of the most formal of all wedding-related toasts in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Almost everyone who made a toast reflected the school days and childhood days of both the bride and the groom.

There were some galleries of good wishes, perfect for celebrating the bride and the groom on their big day. The toasts time occurs after all the guests have been provided with champagne, some of us with fruit-punch, a nonalcoholic as an alternative.  At a sit-down dinner, the toast was made as soon as everyone is seated after the couple arrives and allows guests to orderly walk to the food and drinks at the food court and bar.

Just as everyone involved in the toast, the groom, Mr. Charles Bright, also offered a toast given the true picture of his newly wedded wife. He gave out their relationship history and what he has done in terms of traditional settings before this big day. After welcoming the guests, the groom thanks those who have help organized and planned the event. He thanked the bridesmaids, the Best Man and the groomsmen for their significant role they played. He turned to the entire guests and said that he has gained a wife and a companion for life.

The party started with the bride and the groom opened the floor.  When the bride stepped onto the dance floor for their first dance, the song they choose to dance was a love song tune. It was a song that they choose deeply meaningful as a first dance song that reflects their relationship, their joy, their new life together. The bridesmaids, best man and many other guests surrounded the couple in a circle dancing together with them, demonstrating a trend of perennial favorite. The DJ shut down the music to allow the bride give a vote of thanks.

Mrs. Bright then matched to the stage dancing elegantly and luxurious dressed up to deliver a fantastic and exceptional vote of thanks. She said, she was privileged to be sharing their day with all of their friends and families who have been important to them during their lives. She first started dish out her thank you to God for everything in her life. She thanked her husband, Mr. Bright for making her life complete. She turns to her right and thanked her pastor, Dr. Botchway for his contribution to bless their fraternity of union. It was the first time among the Sierra Leone community in Texas a bride made such a hearty vote of thanks that was broad and clear. She was able to call dozens of individual names of those who contributed in one way or the other to her relationship with Mr. Bright. Mrs. Bright step back to her gallery with her luxurious suit.

The Texas Paddle then entered the stage after an interval announced by the chairman of the occasion, Mr. David Kessbeh. It is clear in our culture that devil dance is synthesis of West African culture. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Bright’s wedding could be counted as one of the dynamics and cultural complexities of contemporary Sierra Leone type of weddings.

The high table where the bride and the groom sat were chock full of super catchy and cleverly designed. A fashion that were incorporated in the most unlikely places like Holy wood type of pink color which made each detail so visually attractive and interesting. The bride determined not to overlook even the most insignificant detail but make sure that everything be just perfect as it was. The party continued till 3: 00 AM.

Ebola update for today September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26th, 2014

EBOLASENSTIZATION

 

EBOLA OUTBREAK UPDATES—September 26, 2014

 

  • DISCHARGED CASES

 

  • Total Survived and Released Patients  =  413

 

  • NEW CASES

 

  • New Confirmed cases  = 35, as follows:

Kailahun = 0, Kenema = 1, Kono = 0

Bombali = 0, Kambia = 0, Koinadugu = 0, Port Loko =18, Tonkolili = 5

Bo = 1, Bonthe = 0, Moyamba = 0, Pujehun = 0

Western Area Urban = 6, Western Area Rural = 4

 

  • CUMULATIVE CASES

 

  • Cumulative confirmed cases = 1,920, as follows:

Kailahun = 529, Kenema = 423, Kono =18

Bombali =180, Kambia =12, Koinadugu =0, Port Loko =231, Tonkolili = 65

Bo = 88, Bonthe = 1, Moyamba = 50, Pujehun = 16

Western Urban = 195, Western Rural = 117

 

  • CUMULATIVE DEATHS

 

  • Total cumulative confirmed death is 529

 

  • Probable cases = 37
  • Probable deaths = 37
  • Suspected cases = 163
  • Suspected deaths = 11

IMPORTANT NOTE!

 

Koinadugu still remains the only district that has not registered confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

 

Ebola Emergency Account Details:

Account Number (Leones): 003001118285030109

Account Number (USD): 003001014138030145

 

The Ebola Emergency Account is audited by Chartered Accountants from the KPMG Accounting and Auditing Firm at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)

 

 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)