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COCORIOKO » 2014 » September

Archive for September, 2014

President Koroma lauds China as special friends in the fight against Ebola

Friday, September 26th, 2014

 

Freetown, Sept. 26, 014 (MOHS) – The President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has described the Government and People of China as special friends to Sierra Leone.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 1

 

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma commissioning the Sierra Leone/Chinese Jui Friendship Ebola Holding Centre and Mobile Laboratory

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the Sierra Leone/Chinese Jui Friendship Hospital Ebola Holding Centre and Mobile Laboratory held on Friday September 26, 2014 in the hospital compound at Jui, President Koroma lauded the Chinese Government for the timely support and continued assistance in the fight to contain the Ebola outbreak in the country.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTER 2

 

The Mobile Laboratory

He underscored the importance of the Mobile Laboratory to facilitate prompt response, and the assistance from the China Centre for Disease Control and Medical Aid Team of the China Peoples Liberation Army, and urged their local counterpart to make good use of the opportunity to develop their capacity.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 3

 

Front Row (L-R) Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Yanbo, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and Vice President, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana and the Chinese Medical Team

President Koroma recalled China’s support to Sierra Leone in the most difficult times, counting the support and commitment demonstrated in every sphere of national development.

China, the President said apart from the infrastructural and human resource capacity, including the equipment to aid Sierra Leone, also provided support to the World Health Organization and the African Union to further strengthen the bilateral and cordial relationship between the two countries.

Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma noted the limited capacity of personnel and equipment in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease, and thanked the Chinese Ambassador for the great strides taken in complimenting the efforts of government.

He encouraged the local medical staff to tap the resources of their Chinese counterpart and to work in close partnership to achieve the desired goal in the fight to contain the Ebola outbreak.

President Koroma commended the health workers and other staff at the Police Training School Ebola Isolation and Treatment Centre and encouraged them to continue the good work.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo described the event as a milestone in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak, especially at a time when there is a growing increase on the infection rate of the disease.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 4

 

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo making his statement

He told his audience that in spite of the challenges, the engagement of communities, active case finding, infection prevention control measures, and early isolation and diagnosis has rated Sierra Leone with a low case fatality as compared to the international standard.

Dr. Kargbo revealed that the 26 patients at the New Isolation and Treatment Centre are doing fine,  and ready to be discharged,  hoping that with the current intervention catalogued with the renewed strength and commitment they would be able to reverse the trend.

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo observed that the Ebola epidemic is spreading, and very crucial, expressing the need to cut off the transmission chain.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 5

 

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zhao Yanbo delivering his speech

The presence of the Mobile Laboratory he said would help increase capacity and verification in handling the necessary tests.

The Envoy assured the President of China’s continued support, and encouraged the Chinese Medical Team to work in close collaboration with their local counterpart to make the necessary impact.

Making the final courtesies, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said the gesture could also be attributed to the dynamic leadership of President Koroma.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 6

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah making the final courtesies

He said what the Chinese government has demonstrated is a big sacrifice, noting also their tireless efforts in working 24 hours round the clock to complete their task.

Dr. Fofanah said the Mobile Laboratory is timely, and the proposed Fixed Laboratory when completed would serve as a learning institution and a teaching hospital for the benefit of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the nation as a whole.

EBK OPENS JUI CENTRE 7

 

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Ebun Jusu Strasser-King

Other speakers include Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Ebun Jusu Strasser-King and the Member of Parliament of the area, Constituency 92, Hon. Pateh Bah.

JAK/PRO/KK/IB/MOHS

Full statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at High-Level Event on Ebola

Friday, September 26th, 2014

UN SEC.GEN ADDRESSING EBOLA HIGH-LEVEL

I thank H.E. Mr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, for joining us in person. I also welcome H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and H.E. Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who are participating by video teleconference link, and are now observing the proceedings. President Johnson-Sirleaf and President Koroma will shortly deliver their statements from the screens on either side of this podium. Thank you for your participation and leadership.

We come together today in solidarity with the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as they face the largest and most deadly Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen.

Ebola is raging.  It kills more than 200 people a day, two thirds of them women. Despite the valiant efforts of local communities, health systems are buckling under the strain.

Many have tried to shut out the virus by closing their borders.  Several airlines have stopped serving the three countries.  The number of ships docking at their ports has dwindled.

But such an approach only makes the situation worse, isolating countries when they need help most.

There is some encouraging news to report.

In some treatment centres, patients are receiving the care they need.  In several locations, community-based programmes are yielding promising results.

I want to pay special tribute to the health workers on the frontlines.  More than 300 have died after being exposed to the virus.

At great personal risk, numerous national, regional and international organizations, civil society groups and NGOS such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and Médecins Sans Frontières are making vital contributions, providing safe burials and providing patients with dignified care.

The Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have asked for our help.  The United Nations has outlined the critical resources that are needed.

Dozens of countries and organizations, too many to mention by name, are making life-saving contributions, and I thank all of them for their generous support. But even these are falling significantly short of the twenty-fold surge that is required.

There is overwhelming international political momentum for the United Nations to play a leading role in coordinating the response.  We will play this role and meet this challenge.

UN staff are eager to help.  Within 24 hours of a call for staff to deploy, we received 4,000 applications.  Some staff are preparing to depart over the weekend.

The entire UN System is mobilized, including the World Health Organization under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Chan, and the World Bank under the leadership of President Jim Yong Kim.  The UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, as well as all agencies, funds and programmes in the affected region, have been providing assistance for months.

The UN response will be spearheaded by the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, which will be led by my Special Representative Anthony Banbury.

UNMEER advance teams have deployed to the mission headquarters in Ghana and to the three most affected countries.  One core responsibility will be to support prevention efforts throughout the region.

Dr. David Nabarro will continue to provide strategic guidance as my Special Envoy and as part of a Global Ebola Response Coalition.

Working with Governments, communities and the full spectrum of international partners, we are focusing on stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, providing essential services, preserving stability and preventing outbreaks in non-affected countries.  These five priorities spell out the word STEPP.  Today it is time for the international community to step up — and help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continue on the path of development and stability.

This crisis has highlighted the need to strengthen early identification systems and early action.  We should consider whether the world needs a standby corps of medical professionals, backed by the expertise of WHO and the logistical capacity of the United Nations.  Just as our troops in blue helmets help keep people safe, a corps in white coats could help keep people healthy.

Now is the time for a robust and united effort to stop the outbreak.  The world can and must stop Ebola — now.

Thank you very much for your commitment.

World Bank increases Ebola funding to a whopping U.S $ 400 million

Friday, September 26th, 2014

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2014—Following alarming evidence of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Bank Group today announced that it will nearly double its financing to $400 million to help the worst-affected countries address the emergency and build stronger health systems for the years ahead

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

This represents $170 million in new funding. With today’s announcement, the Bank will put $230 million toward the emergency response and $170 million for medium- and long-term projects. The new resources – which the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will consider in the coming weeks – will be targeted at rapidly increasing the health care workforce and purchasing needed supplies in order to bring care and treatment to all parts of the affected countries. The funding also is aimed at building a stronger health care system because it will aim to train cadres of health workers to bolster care at a community level throughout the affected region

“The global community is now responding with the urgency and the scale needed to begin to turn back this unprecedented Ebola crisis,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who was speaking today at a special session on the Ebola crisis at the United Nations. “The real challenge now is to bring care and treatment to the most remote areas as well as the cities and then to build a stronger health care system. This funding will help the countries start a massive scale up of training of community health workers and bring needed supplies and equipment.

The World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilizing $230 million for the three countries hardest hit by the crisis—Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—including a $117 million emergency response. This support – coordinated closely with the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the United States, and other international and country partners – has assisted countries in treating the sick, cope with the economic impact, and improve their public health systems

The additional planned support will make $113 million that had been earmarked in the earlier package for longer-term help immediately available for the emergency response. The new package will have $170 million set aside in medium- to longer-term assistance for the countries’ health systems

More people have died in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa than in all previous Ebola outbreaks combined since the virus was first discovered in 1976. A World Bank analysis, released last week, found that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries, its economic impact could deal a potentially catastrophic blow to these already fragile states. However, the analysis also found that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating fear resulting from people’s concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact

“This is a humanitarian catastrophe, first and foremost,” Kim said. “But the economic ramifications are very broad and could be long lasting. Our assessment shows a much more severe economic impact on affected countries than was previously estimated. We have been greatly encouraged by the major increase in assistance given by the international community, but now all of us have to deliver on the ground to match the scale of the crisis.

The bulk of the emergency financing provided to date—$105 million in grants out of the $117 million package—was approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors on September 16, 2014, and is new money provided in grants from our IDA Crisis Response Window. The other $12 million in the emergency financing was reallocated at the end of August 2014 from existing health projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone ($6 million per country) to make some funds immediately available. As of Thursday morning the Bank had already transferred 80 percent of the $117 million package to the three Governments and UN agencies with the remainder of funds to be disbursed by the end of the week

These funds are being used to pay for essential supplies and drugs, personal protective equipment and infection prevention control materials, health workers training, hazard pay and death benefits to Ebola health workers and volunteers, contact tracing, vehicles, data management equipment and door-to-door public health education outreach. The Bank has been supporting country responses in line with the WHO Roadmap

We can—we must—all move more swiftly to contain the spread of Ebola and help these countries and their people. Too many lives have been lost already, and the fate of thousands of others depends upon a response that can contain and then stop this epidemic,” said Kim.

A World Bank Group analysis of the Ebola epidemic released last week warned that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – its economic impact could grow eight-fold. However, the analysis found that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating “aversion behavior” – a fear factor resulting from peoples’ concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.

World Bank

 

China blesses Sierra Leone with mobile Bio-safety laboratory

Friday, September 26th, 2014

On 25 September, 2014, a China-chartered airplane carrying a China-aided mobile bio-safety level Ⅲ laboratory arrived at Lungi International Airport of Sierra Leone. Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Ebun Strasser-King, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation Mr. Foday Sawi, Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Mr. Ibrahim Mansaray and other senior Sierra Leonean officials attended the arrival ceremony held at the airport. Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), and other media organizations covered the event.

Ambassador Zhao stated that Chinese President Xi Jinping is very much concerned about the Ebola situation and cares for the friends in Ebola-stricken countries. President Xi announced on 18 September during his visit to India that China will provide a further 200 million Yuan (equally 32.54 million USD) package of cash, food, material aid to Sierra Leone, Libria, Guinea and its neighbouring countries to help contain Ebola. Ambassador Zhao indicated that taking into consideration of the Ebola situation in Sierra Leone and in response to the urgent need of labs in the country, China decided to provide a mobile bio-safety level Ⅲ laboratory to Sierra Leone. China’s laboratory will scale up the testing of Ebola cases and help Sierra Leone control Ebola at an earlier date.

China-aided Mobile Bio-Safety Level Ⅲ Laboratory 3

China-aided Mobile Bio-Safety Level Ⅲ Laboratory 2

Acting Foreign Minister Strasser-King expressed her deep appreciation to the Chinese government and people for always standing with Sierra Leone when Sierra Leone is in difficulty, and commended that China has played a crucial role in helping Sierra Leone contain Ebola. She said that the three-day national lockdown from 19 to 21 September resulted in a large number of survivors waiting to be tested, and indicated that China’s mobile laboratory will speed up the detection process to help Sierra Leone cut off the transmission chain of Ebola.

Deputy Health Minister Sawi and Deputy Transport Minister Mansaray indicated that the mobile lab provided by China will help Sierra Leone collect Ebola data more timely and effectively, and greatly improve Sierra Leone’s capacity to face Ebola challenges.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of Chinain the Republic of Sierra Leone

Remarks by President Obama at U.N. Meeting on Ebola

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

OBAMA ADDRESSES UN EBOLA SUMMIT

United Nations Building
New York City, New York

11:15 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Mr. Secretary-General, thank you for bringing us together today to address an urgent threat to the people of West Africa, but also a potential threat to the world.  Dr. Chan, heads of state and government, especially our African partners, ladies and gentlemen:  As we gather here today, the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea are in crisis.  As Secretary-General Ban and Dr. Chan have already indicated, the Ebola virus is spreading at alarming speed.  Thousands of men, women and children have died.  Thousands more are infected.  If unchecked, this epidemic could kill hundreds of thousands of people in the coming months.  Hundreds of thousands.

Ebola is a horrific disease.  It’s wiping out entire families.  It has turned simple acts of love and comfort and kindness — like holding a sick friend’s hand, or embracing a dying child — into potentially fatal acts.  If ever there were a public health emergency deserving an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it.

But this is also more than a health crisis.  This is a growing threat to regional and global security.  In Liberia, in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, public health systems have collapsed.  Economic growth is slowing dramatically.  If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.  And in an era where regional crises can quickly become global threats, stopping Ebola is in the interest of all of us.

The courageous men and women fighting on the front lines of this disease have told us what they need.  They need more beds, they need more supplies, they need more health workers, and they need all of this as fast as possible.  Right now, patients are being left to die in the streets because there’s nowhere to put them and there’s nobody to help them.  One health worker in Sierra Leone compared fighting this outbreak to “fighting a forest fire with spray bottles.”  But with our help, they can put out the blaze.

Last week, I visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is mounting the largest international response in its history.  I said that the world could count on America to lead, and that we will provide the capabilities that only we have, and mobilize the world the way we have done in the past in crises of similar magnitude.  And I announced that, in addition to the civilian response, the United States would establish a military command in Liberia to support civilian efforts across the region.

Today, that command is up and it is running.  Our commander is on the ground in Monrovia, and our teams are working as fast as they can to move in personnel, equipment and supplies.  We’re working with Senegal to stand up an air bridge to get health workers and medical supplies into West Africa faster.  We’re setting up a field hospital, which will be staffed by personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service, and a training facility, where we’re getting ready to train thousands of health workers from around the world.  We’re distributing supplies and information kits to hundreds of thousands of families so they can better protect themselves.  And together with our partners, we’ll quickly build new treatment units across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where thousands will be able to receive care.

Meanwhile, in just the past week, more countries and organizations have stepped up their efforts — and so has the United Nations.  Mr. Secretary-General, the new UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response that you announced last week will bring all of the U.N.’s resources to bear in fighting the epidemic.  We thank you for your leadership.

So this is all progress, and it is encouraging.  But I want us to be clear:  We are not moving fast enough.  We are not doing enough.  Right now, everybody has the best of intentions, but people are not putting in the kinds of resources that are necessary to put a stop to this epidemic.  There is still a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.  We know from experience that the response to an outbreak of this magnitude has to be fast and it has to be sustained.  It’s a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint.  And that’s only possible if everybody chips in, if every nation and every organization takes this seriously.  Everybody here has to do more.

International organizations have to move faster, and cut through red tape and mobilize partners on the ground as only they can.  More nations need to contribute critical assets and capabilities — whether it is air transport, or medical evacuation, or health care workers, or equipment, or treatment.  More foundations can tap into the networks of support that they have, to raise funds and awareness.  More businesses, especially those who already have a presence in the region, can quickly provide their own expertise and resources, from access to critical supply chains to telecommunications.  And more citizens — of all nations — can educate themselves on this crisis, contribute to relief efforts, and call on their leaders to act.  So everybody can do something.  That’s why we’re here today.

And even as we meet the urgent threat of Ebola, it’s clear that our nations have to do more to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats — before they erupt into full-blown crises.  Tomorrow, in Washington, I’ll host 44 nations to advance our Global Health Security Agenda, and we are interested in working with any country that shares this commitment.

Just to emphasize this issue of speed again.  When I was down at the CDC — and perhaps this has already been discussed, but I want to emphasize this — the outbreak is such where at this point more people will die.  But the slope of the curve, how fast we can arrest the spread of this disease, how quickly we can contain it is within our control.  And if we move fast, even if imperfectly, then that could mean the difference between 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 deaths versus hundreds of thousands or even a million deaths.  So this is not one where there should be a lot of wrangling and people waiting to see who else is doing what.  Everybody has got to move fast in order for us to make a difference.  And if we do, we’ll save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Stopping Ebola is a priority for the United States.  I’ve said that this is as important a national security priority for my team as anything else that’s out there.  We’ll do our part.  We will continue to lead, but this has to be a priority for everybody else.  We cannot do this alone.  We don’t have the capacity to do all of this by ourselves.  We don’t have enough health workers by ourselves.  We can build the infrastructure and the architecture to get help in, but we’re going to need others to contribute.

To my fellow leaders from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, to the people of West Africa, to the heroic health workers who are on the ground as we speak, in some cases, putting themselves at risk — I want you to know that you are not alone.  We’re working urgently to get you the help you need.  And we will not stop, we will not relent until we halt this epidemic once and for all.

So I want to thank all of you for the efforts that are made. But I hope that I’m properly communicating a sense of urgency here.  Do not stand by, thinking that somehow, because of what we’ve done, that it’s taken care of.  It’s not.  And if we don’t take care of this now we are going to see fallout effects and secondary effects from this that will have ramifications for a long time, above and beyond the lives that will have been lost.

I urge all of you, particularly those who have direct access to your heads of state, to make sure that they are making this a top priority in the next several weeks and months.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Samura Kamara addresses ICDP Conference at the UN

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

DR. SAMURA ADDRESSING UN

Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara on Wednesday  addressed the International Conference on Population and Development ( ICPD ) at the margins of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Full statement coming.

In brief, this was what the Minister said :

SAMURA M. W. KAMARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, said that his country had made progress according to its 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, despite the dark shadow being cast by the recent outbreak of Ebola, for which the country was ill-prepared.  Positive strides had included a decrease in fertility rates due to modern family planning, and antenatal care by skilled birth attendants increased from 87 per cent to 97 per cent. 

 

Additionally, the use of insecticide treated nets had doubled for children under five from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, reducing malaria infection.  Sierra Leone knew it needed to scale up its efforts to reduce maternal and childhood mortality, and had thus introduced free health-care services for pregnant women.  –

 

See more at: http://icpdbeyond2014.org/whats-new/view/id/122/speakers-call-for-greater-global-efforts-in-implementing-goals-of-1994-icpd-as-ga-reviews-progress#sthash.qW73SxMa.dpuf

President Ernest Koroma addresses the UN on Ebola from Freetown

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

PRESIDENT KOROMA ADDRESSING UN

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON RESPONSE TO

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Excellencies and other distinguished delegates,

NIGERIA-MALI-UNREST-MILITARY

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON RESPONSE TO

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Excellencies and other distinguished delegates,

 

My country Sierra Leone is at the battlefront of one of the biggest life and death challenges facing the global human community. A disease like Ebola could no longer be dealt with in isolation by just one isolated country in one isolated corner of the world.  Viral diseases are no respecters of boundaries in a world of expanding human habitats bringing us into greater contact with mutating viruses. Ebola is not only a disease of Sierra Leone and its neighbours; it is a disease of the world. Globalization, increasing urbanization and denser networks of people rapidly moving between rural and urban areas and across borders is fuel for greater transmission of formerly isolated viral diseases.

 

None of us recognized that this mix of trends could emerge with such force 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 flurry of fear that led to banning of travel to and from Sierra Leone and our region.

 

This is the very first time Ebola got to my country Sierra Leone. We did not bring it upon ourselves. We were rebuilding our infrastructure, increasing our growth rates, enhancing our peace and strengthening our democracy. We still had a long way to go, but the world was also lauding us for doing many things right, for being a symbol of fast paced recovery from war. We were gearing up our compromised health systems to fight the known ailments of our land like malaria and typhoid when Ebola struck. Based on the advice we had from our partners, we mobilized, but the available national and international resources were grossly inadequate.

 

Several months down the line, the international community is finally coming around to the better view that the Ebola Outbreak is a challenge for everyone. Sierra Leone and its sister republics may be at the frontlines of this fight but we require the heavy aerial and ground support of the world to defeat a disease worse than terrorism.

 

As a country we have taken extra-ordinary measures, including declaring a state of Emergency, shutting down the country for three days to get over 27,000 health educators onto every household in the country, and reallocating millions of dollars from other vital services to this life and death struggle.

 

We salute the efforts of our partners, but containing this outbreak requires greater international support in the following areas:

 

      More treatment centers, labs and equipment

     More clinicians, nurses and other health workers in treatment and holding centers

      More training for national doctors, nurses and other health workers on safe and effective clinical and nutritional interventions

     Lifting of blanket bans of flights to and from our countries

      Logistical support to improve response time, including Ebola customized ambulances, logistics experts, and information managers

 

Ebola as a disease is such that even an hour too late leads to exponential transmissions. That is why faster response, of a kind similar to responses to natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes is required. This calls for faster deployment of resources at the global, national and health center level. Any break in this chain of fast response would result in more deaths in our country and greater possibilities of the virus mutating and spreading into other countries and continents. A Rapid Global Response Infrastructure must be activated and a strengthened health system in Sierra Leone must be ensured by this international response so that local capacity is boosted to hold the fort in any future outbreak. This is a fight for all of us; we must prove that humanity is equal to this new challenge to our collective existence.

 

I thank you for your attention.

 

 

 

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON RESPONSE TO EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON RESPONSE TO

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Excellencies and other distinguished delegates,

NIGERIA-MALI-UNREST-MILITARY

STATEMENT BY H.E. DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON RESPONSE TO

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

THURSDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Excellencies and other distinguished delegates,

 

My country Sierra Leone is at the battlefront of one of the biggest life and death challenges facing the global human community. A disease like Ebola could no longer be dealt with in isolation by just one isolated country in one isolated corner of the world.  Viral diseases are no respecters of boundaries in a world of expanding human habitats bringing us into greater contact with mutating viruses. Ebola is not only a disease of Sierra Leone and its neighbours; it is a disease of the world. Globalization, increasing urbanization and denser networks of people rapidly moving between rural and urban areas and across borders is fuel for greater transmission of formerly isolated viral diseases.

 

None of us recognized that this mix of trends could emerge with such force 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 flurry of fear that led to banning of travel to and from Sierra Leone and our region.

 

This is the very first time Ebola got to my country Sierra Leone. We did not bring it upon ourselves. We were rebuilding our infrastructure, increasing our growth rates, enhancing our peace and strengthening our democracy. We still had a long way to go, but the world was also lauding us for doing many things right, for being a symbol of fast paced recovery from war. We were gearing up our compromised health systems to fight the known ailments of our land like malaria and typhoid when Ebola struck. Based on the advice we had from our partners, we mobilized, but the available national and international resources were grossly inadequate.

 

Several months down the line, the international community is finally coming around to the better view that the Ebola Outbreak is a challenge for everyone. Sierra Leone and its sister republics may be at the frontlines of this fight but we require the heavy aerial and ground support of the world to defeat a disease worse than terrorism.

 

As a country we have taken extra-ordinary measures, including declaring a state of Emergency, shutting down the country for three days to get over 27,000 health educators onto every household in the country, and reallocating millions of dollars from other vital services to this life and death struggle.

 

We salute the efforts of our partners, but containing this outbreak requires greater international support in the following areas:

 

      More treatment centers, labs and equipment

     More clinicians, nurses and other health workers in treatment and holding centers

      More training for national doctors, nurses and other health workers on safe and effective clinical and nutritional interventions

     Lifting of blanket bans of flights to and from our countries

      Logistical support to improve response time, including Ebola customized ambulances, logistics experts, and information managers

 

Ebola as a disease is such that even an hour too late leads to exponential transmissions. That is why faster response, of a kind similar to responses to natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes is required. This calls for faster deployment of resources at the global, national and health center level. Any break in this chain of fast response would result in more deaths in our country and greater possibilities of the virus mutating and spreading into other countries and continents. A Rapid Global Response Infrastructure must be activated and a strengthened health system in Sierra Leone must be ensured by this international response so that local capacity is boosted to hold the fort in any future outbreak. This is a fight for all of us; we must prove that humanity is equal to this new challenge to our collective existence.

 

I thank you for your attention.

PRESIDENT KOROMA TO ADDRESS UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON EBOLA OUTBREAK TODAY ( IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS )

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

PRESIDENT KOROMA LATEST 2

Sierra Leone’s President , Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, will be one of the world leaders taking centre stage at the United Nations today as the Head of State will be addressing the High Level Meeting on the Ebola Virus Outbreak through video streaming from Freetown.

COCORIOKO will bring you the full statement as soon as it is made, with attendant photos and the video.

STAY TUNED

President Koroma broadcasts again to the nation to announce further measures to end Ebola outbreak

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA EMPHATIC

 

Broadcast to the Nation
on Further Measures to End the
Ebola Outbreak
by His Excellency the President
Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
September 24, 2014
Fellow Sierra Leoneans

From Friday September 19 to Sunday September 21, 2014, we all answered to the call to stay at home for the Ebola Ose to Ose Campaign. Thousands of Sierra Leoneans volunteered to pass on the messages, to coordinate activities, and provide logistics. Thousands of health workers, from doctors to nurses, lab technicians, hygienists, burial teams and others showed great commitment during the campaign. Hundreds of journalists throughout the country, coordinated by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and IRN worked resolutely to get the messages to the communities throughout the land. We laud paramount chiefs, religious and community leaders, motor drivers and bike riders, musicians for adding their energy and goodwill to the effort. We also salute the security forces for committing their efforts, authority and goodwill to the national call. It was indeed an impressive effort, and in organizing and implementing it, Sierra Leoneans once again demonstrated their collective ability to rise up to the occasion.

 

 

The three days Ose to Ose Campaign achieved its objectives. Nearly all households in the country got messages on Ebola. Those who could not be visited by volunteers got information from the radio, and the stay at home itself, with empty streets everywhere concentrated the minds of our people on the reality of Ebola and what everyone should do to kick Ebola out of the country. The Campaign also convinced many people to get out the sick amongst them, and to report on suspected deaths in their households and communities. The country rose up to the occasion.

Before and during the campaign, government and development partners increased the country’s capacity to meet the challenges posed by Ebola. But the campaign also highlighted areas of greater challenges. We are committed to strengthening our capacities to meet these challenges, including improving response times, building more treatment and holding centers, and strengthening the neighborhood watch mechanisms that the campaign had initiated.

To sustain our efforts in overcoming the challenges that were further revealed during the Ose to Ose Campaign, and in consultation with our partners, in line with our people’s avowed commitment to support extra measures to end the Ebola outbreak, and pursuant to the Public Emergency Regulations 2014, Government has decided to institute these further measures:

• Port Loko, Bombali, and Moyamba districts are isolated with immediate effect. It should also be noted that Kenema and Kailahun remain isolated

• Marampa, Buya Romende, Maforki, Koya, Masimera and BKM Chiefdoms in the Port Loko District, Bombali Shebora, Makarie Gbanti, Gbendembu Gowahun, Mpaki Masabong in the Bombali District, and Fakunya, Lower Banta and Bumpeh Chiefdoms in the Moyamba District are isolated, and residents in these chiefdoms must not travel to any other chiefdom until further notice

• Corridors for travel to and from non-quarantined districts are hereby established, but vehicles and travellers must not alight within the quarantined districts, and must only travel along the corridors between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm

• In the Western Area, Pujehun, Tonkolili and Kambia Districts, names of Hot Spots to be quarantined will be announced in the Government Notice following this Statement

• The ministries of Health, Education, Youth and Local Government to activate the involvement of paramount chiefs, youths, and teachers within the affected districts in contact tracing and surveillance activities

• The National Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will ensure the reconfiguration and appointment of coordinators for every district EOC to facilitate effective decision making and implementation of action points at the district level

• The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the EOC will establish additional holding centers in the quarantined chiefdoms

The isolation of districts and chiefdoms will definitely pose great difficulties for our people in those districts. But the life of everyone and the survival of our country take precedence over these difficulties. Government and our development partners will continue to improve support to quarantined citizens to ease these difficulties. These are trying moments for everyone in the country, but we are a resilient people, a people that have shown their ability to unite and stand up as one to overcome difficulties. We showed this in our determination to achieve peace, to restore democracy, and more recently to undertake a three-day national Ose to Ose Campaign. This has never been tried before in any other country in the world, and that we went through it peacefully and resolutely is a testament to the better values of our national character. We will use these strengths to confront those tendencies that undermine the fight against the disease, we will utilize our better calling to end this outbreak, and by the grace of God Almighty, we shall overcome and free our land from this evil virus.

God bless our collective efforts
God bless our Sierra Leone