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COCORIOKO » 2014 » November

Archive for November, 2014

Deep racial divide in the United States

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Viewers watched  a splenetic and very angry Hannity Show on FOX and  even the panelists were  accusing each other of raising the others’ blood pressure. Even viewers’  pressure rose too and many of them must have been  disturbed because of the gross insensitivity and inhumanity being demonstrated verbally towards a mother and father whose 18-year old kid was gunned down by a  policeman and his body left lying on the street for hours.

racial harmony

 

Flipping through channels, viewers are  hearing a lot of bitter racial rhetoric and whites’ minds are made up while the minds of the blacks are also set on the issue of Darren Wilson, the white police officer , whom the grand jury refused to indict for killing the black teen . Nobody can deny it. There is a very deep racial divide  in America and we  think we should stop pretending.

The American media are also helping to fan the flames of racial hatred and division. Top officials , especially on the Republican side ,  are also not helping the situation at all.

What bothers this newspaper  is the lack of human feelings towards a young boy who was killed . Even if it is true that he was not at his best behaviour , that was no excuse for killing him. If Officer Darren Wilson’s  child was in Michael Brown’s position, would it have been justified for a  cop to kill him ?

We think the rotten justice system is helping to perpetuate racial divisions and Police brutality . Listen to a  cop talking about killing somebody’s kid like it is all about sucking a lollipop. It was not a morally justified killing  and nothing Darren Wilson  says will convince men and women of conscience.

Nerves are very raw in America and we are  wondering when all this racial hatred will end and when  we all will realize that we are all children of God obligated to live in peace and harmony.

We have to give racial harmony a chance in America.

We have to love one another and live in peace.

No race is more superior than the other.

We are all equal before God and every man’s life is important.

OGI Director Khadija Sesay seeks transparency and accountability about Sierra Leone Government globally

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Director of the Open Government Initiative ( OGI ),  Madam Khadija Sesay has told COCORIOKO  that the OGI is seeking to establish transparency and accountability about Sierra Leone Government operations in the diaspora.  Madam Sesay, who has been in the U.S.  for the past one month, has been holding key meetings of the Open Government Partnership ( OGP )   at the State Department in Washington DC.

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MADAM KHADIJA SESAY

According to Khadija Sesay , the OGI is bringing the Sierra Leone Government to citizens in the diaspora and Sierra Leone’s stakeholders. To facilitate the process,  the OGI is now a member of the global  Open Government Partnership , which according to information in its website , “was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.”  According to the website , since   2011   the OGP ” has grown from 8 countries to the 65 participating countries “, with Sierra Leone being one of them .  “In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms”, the website further stated.

At the time of joining the partnership last year, the Government of Sierra Leone wrote :  ” Sierra Leone will join 60 countries world-wide, which are currently members of this initiative. The initiative seeks to achieve improved governance based on active involvement of civil society and the media, as well as enhance effective public management, through increased level of transparency, mutual trust and accountability in State-citizen relationships. ”

The Sierra Leone Government statement went on : “This new multi-lateral initiative aims to secure concrete commitments from Governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and enhance new technologies to strengthen governance. By joining the initiative, the Government of Sierra Leone continues to reaffirm its commitment to embrace an open government declaration; deliver a concrete action plan, develop with public consultation and feedback and commit to independent reporting on progress, going forward.”

The statement also said that : “At the same time, the Open Government Initiative (OGI) in Sierra Leone, established five years ago is making big strides in this direction through a partnership involving the civil society, the media, Parliament and the judiciary. “

KABS KANU AND PASCO TEMPLE WILL BE BRINGING YOU REPORTS ON THE OGI’S RECENT ENGAGEMENTS IN WASHINGTON DC.

ABC Urges Bombali to be very Positive in the Fight Against Ebola

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

 

By ABC Communications Unit

The Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat during its four day countrywide visit to Bombali district which started from Monday, 24th November, 2014 has urged the People of Bombali to be very positive in the fight against the dreadful Ebola virus that is ravaging the country’s population and hampering development.

ABC BOMBALI

 

Dr. Ivan Thomas Speaking to Stakeholders

At different meetings with stakeholders of the district, the Executive Director of the Secretariat Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas informed stakeholders that the aim of the visit was to conduct an Ebola Education and Preventive Measure Enforcement Campaign, and called on stakeholders of the district to be very vigilant in ensuring that they break the chain of Ebola transmission in the district.

Dr. Ivan Thomas revealed that it has become very clear that it is negative attitude and behaviour such as exhuming of corpses, washing of the dead and caring for the sick are now responsible for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, ”and it is our duty as the Secretariat charged with the responsibility to influence positive attitude and behaviour in the country to come and prevail on the people of the district to change their attitude and behaviour” he explained.

He cited that the virus started in Guinea and then to Liberia before it came to Sierra Leone but all the other two countries are almost containing the disease but Sierra Leone is still finding it very difficult to control it disease because of the negative attitude and behaviour of people by not accepting the precautionary measures.

The Executive Director urged the people of the district to comply to the Emergency Regulation and all the byelaws for the containment of the disease, and noted that since the Secretariat did not have the power to enforce laws, it is therefore advocating for strict compliance of the laws.

The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas expressed to the Paramount Chief of Bombali Sebora Chiefdom, P.C. Bai Sebora Kasangna II that the Secretariat is very concern with the rising number of Ebola cases in the district, and that the Secretariat is very pleased with the robust strategy of the authorities of Kambia. ”I hope that the chiefs and the people of Bombali will emulate the people of Kambia.”

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Madam Nanette Thomas Speaking to Stakeholders

The Paramount Chief for Bombali Sebora, P.C. Bai Kasangna II disclosed that authorities of the district are disappointed at the increasing number of Ebola infected cases in the district, and noting that they are finding it very difficult to contain the disease in the district because of the geographical location and size of the district.

P.C. Bai Kasangna II revealed that the disease spread in the district very fast when a nurse at one of the village health centers called Pate Bana Marank contacted the virus and because people were denying the disease about one hundred people at the village later became infected and died after the nurse died, and that made his chiefdom to be quarantined.

The Paramount Chief informed the ABC Secretariat that his Chiefdom has seven administrative wards, and that he has asked all his Sections Chiefs to heighten their efforts in the fight against the dangerous scourge as it is their traditional responsibility to ensure that they maintain a healthy environment for their subjects by containing the disease quickly.

The P.C. registered his commitment to ensure that all the by-laws relating to controlling the spread of the epidemic are fully implemented, ”the magistrate has fined over twelve people for breaking the by-laws and some have even lost their jobs due to that.”

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P.C. Bai Kasangna II

He disclosed that secret burials are still taking place in some parts of the district, citing that, recently at a village called Rothemneh some people buried a corpse without medical approval and eight of those who involved in that act were fined, ”we have agreed that anyone that is caught in such an act will not only be fined but will also be jailed because it is a serious offence” he maintained.

The Provincial Secretary for the Northern Region, Mr Raymond K.M. Bindi maintained that before President Koroma threatened to seize the staffs of Paramount Chiefs, traditional authorities were doing little to ensure that the virus is contained, but after the President’s pronouncement, the chiefs have now joined the fight against the virus assiduously.

The Provincial Secretary reiterated that the disease is spreading so fast in the district because of the geographical location of the district, being that it is in the corridor of movements in the country, and added that the negative attitude and behaviour of the people towards the disease are contributing  immensely to the spread of the virus.

Mr. Bindi stressed that what is more important now since the traditional authorities have joined hands in the Ebla fight is to change the attitude and behaviour of the people, ”Positive attitude is what we should rely on to defeat the deadly Ebola virus”.

The Local Unit Commander (LUC) for the Makeni Division, Mr. Gibril M. Turay mentioned that Sierra Leoneans were not well informed about the disease when it started so they found it very difficult to accept it, but stressed that it can only be contained through positive attitude.

The LUC recommended that the Kambia District strategy to control the movement of bikes wherein a fine of two hundred thousand Leones (Le 200,000) should be levied on any okada rider that is caught operating after 7:00 pm.

The Secretariat also met with the District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr. Tom Turay and his team, wherein the Programme Manager for the ABC told the DMO that the Secretariat has decided to become the center stage in the fight against the scourge because it has been noticed that Sierra Leone can only succeed in eradicating the Ebola virus if the people become very positive towards the disease.

Responding to the Secretariat, Dr. Turay noted that one of the problems that is derailing the speedy containment of the disease is that people are still in the habit of exhuming corpses in the country, and furthered that it might be the reason why there are re-emergence of epicenters in the country. He also mentioned that the real epicenter of the virus is the mindsets of the people which bowels from their attitude and behaviour towards the disease.

The African Union (AU) Logistician of the African Union Support in Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Samuel Temesgen spoke of the AU’s response towards case management pillars like logistics, treatment and holding centers and food distribution to quarantined homes.

He noted that lack of coordination among the different pillars is the reason for the late supply of food to quarantined homes, and suggested that people in quarantined homes should have better knowledge on the importance of quarantined so that they will be able to manage themselves.

The Secretariat also witnessed the distribution of food to quarantined homes in the district and also visited one of the district’s Ebola Treatment Center at the Arab Hospital where the nurses and doctors expressed their determinations to render their professional services towards the fight against Ebola.

ABC Commends Kambia District Response to Ebola

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

 

By ABC Communications Unit

The Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat during its nationwideEbola Education and Preventive Measures Enforcement campaign has commended the people of Kambia District for their effective response in the fight against Ebola in the district. The Secretariat started its four day education exercise from Thursday, 20th November, with consultation of the coordination and technical teams and other relevant stakeholders.

Kambia District is one of the districts that has chronicled the least number of Ebola cases in the country even though it is a boundary district with the Republic of Guinea where the disease started in West Africa and also borders with Port Loko an epicenter of the disease.

The Executive Director of the Secretariat Dr. Ivan Agibola Thomas at diverse fora informed stakeholders that the aim of the visit was to conduct an Ebola Education and Preventive Measure Enforcement Campaign and urged the people of Kambia to continue to be very vigilant in their response towards the disease. He revealed that the Secretariat is conducting an embedded investigation on the challenges which the disease posed so that necessary actions will be taken to eradicate the Ebola virus in the country.

Dr. Thomas enlightened that to influence positive attitude the Secretariat is advocating for compliance to all professional and medical advices, and all by-laws.

ABC KAMBIA 4

Members of the ABC Sect. at a Meeting with Kambia District Ebola Response Committee.

The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the Secretariat Madam Nanette Thomas told stakeholders that the Secretariat is very impressed with the low number of Ebola cases in the district amidst the fact that the district has a lot of porous border points with Guinea where the disease emanated from and also Port Loko which is an epicenter.

Madam Thomas commended the stakeholders for the robust strategies that they put in place to ensure that they contain the virus, she praised the people of the district for adhering to the call of the government to fight against the disease, and urged other districts in the country to emulate the example of the people of Kambia District.

”The moves of the people of Kambia District are clear indications that they are very positive towards the eradication of Ebola in the country” She stated, and furthered that Sierra Leone will not win the war against Ebola if people continue to cling onto some of their cultural and traditional practices such as the rites of passage relating to burial ceremony. She advocated that people must comply to the professional medical advice to reduce the rate of Ebola transmission in the country.

Revealing the secret behind their success to supress the rate of Ebola transmission in the district, the Paramount Chief for Magbema Chiefdom that hosts the district headquarter P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV informed the Secretariat that the district was very proactive in their response towards the virus, ”We started our Ebola sensitisation when the disease was in Guinea because we know that we are very close to Guinea” he disclosed.

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P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV of Magbema Chiefdom

The Paramount Chief explained that they had their first taskforce meeting comprising of the Senior District Officer, the Local Unit Commander, Head of Office of National Security, the District Medical Officer, himself and other chiefdom and district stakeholders on the 1st of April, 2014 before the first Ebola case was reported in Sierra Leone in May and they started drafting mechanisms since then on how they were going to tackle the virus if it eventually break up in the country.

According to the P.C, another part of the taskforce strategy that is helping to curb the Ebola virus is the decentralization of the taskforce from district to chiefdom and section levels, to enable every community to be very vigilant in the fight.

P.C. Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV noted that the police are over stretched in the district, so he organized his people to mount checkpoints in the borders. He revealed that the okada riders are transporting sick people after the official hours of operations, and that the bye-laws are strictly enforced to limit the movement of sick persons into the district. He initiated a bye-law that prohibits private bikes from plying the chiefdom after 7:00pm, because it was noticed that some people were using private bikes to transport sick people from one point to another.

”I have made it as part of our bye-laws that any bike that is caught after 7:00 pm should pay a fine of two hundred thousand Leone (Le 200,000)” he disclosed, and that the money accrued will be used by the taskforce for the provision of logistics.

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P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV in together with ABC Staff

Another significant regulation that the district enforced to curb the Ebola virus was that, any person that has taken three weeks outside the district should not be allowed to sleep in the district, and that if anyone lodges any stranger without the prior notice of the Paramount Chief, that person will be finned five hundred thousand Leones (Le 5,00,000).

The Paramount Chief and the taskforce last week, conducted a house-to-house search for sick persons and in the process they were able to take out all the sick persons for treatment. It was found out that almost all the Ebola cases in the district are people from other parts of the country.

”We have put a target that before December 25th, 2014 we should not have any Ebola case in the district again and the authorities are working relentlessly to ensure that we meet that goal”. He also revealed that fines will be levied for touching such as handshaking and hugging.

In his explanation of why Kambia District is recording low number of Ebola viral infection  in comparative analysis with others, the District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr. Foday Sesay revealed that they have a strong social mobilisation team in the district, and also reiterated that the district started their social mobilisation at the time when the disease was in Guinea. This he said is in combination of government’s and other stakeholders’ efforts to eradicate Ebola in the country.

Dr. Sesay explained that the district always act promptly whenever they have an Ebola case by tracing the history of the particular case and ensure that the house of that case is quarantined. He sustained that this has helped to contain the disease in communities that were regarded as the Ebola epicentre in the district such as Cucuna, Soria, Workinfor, Madina and Rokupr.

The DMO spoke of team spirit good working relationship between stakeholders in the district with a single aim of keeping the district free from Ebola and that has helped greatly in the Ebola fight in the district.

Despite the success stories of the district in minimizing the infectious cases of Ebola, the district is facing some challenges in completely eradicating the virus. The DMO disclosed that they did not have enough funds to carry out all their activities, and that reduction of the salary of surveillance personnel from five hundred thousand Leon (Le 500,000) to two hundred thousand Leones (200,000) caused some problems for us at certain point in time.

Dr Sesay also told the ABC team that there have been circumstances when people stoned their burial team, but the police was vigilant to interfere in such circumstances, people do give wrong information to contact tracers which thereby stifle the smooth running of the operation particularly for those who needed real assistance and support.

Regarding food distribution to quarantined homes, the Kambia District Ebola Response Committee disclosed that there is always late response to their request for food for quarantined homes, and also World Food Programme (WFP) did not have a storage facility in the district so food are transported from Port Loko to Kambia, and there is also the challenge of transportation.

The Secretariat also met with youth groups in the district such as the Brigade Youth Group. In addressing the group, the Programme Manager of the Secretariat Mr. Ishmael Cole, told the youth that the Secretariat is the institution that is charged with the responsibility to influence positive attitude and behaviour in the country and encourages the youth to join hands in the fight against .

The Secretariat in another move also witnessed food distribution to quarantined homes in the district, Ebola Preventive Control Training at the Government Hospital and also undertook radio discussion programmes as well as public address campaign on Ebola Education and Preventive Measures Enforcement that was centered on the attitudes and behaviours of people towards the disease.

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One of the Secretariat’s vehicles with loud speakers disseminating Ebola messages to the People of Kambia in different languages.

 

Ambassador Timbo Presents Sierra Leone’s Case to UAE Leaders

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States

Dr. Adnam (right) confirms Amb. Timbo as Per. Rep. to IRENASierra Leone’s first resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Arab Emirates with accreditation to other Gulf countries, H.E. Siray Alpha Timbo on Wednesday, 5th November, 2014 presented his Letters of Credence to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoumn, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai.

The colourful ceremony took place at the Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi. Nine new Ambassadors from the UK, Brazil and Australia amongst others, presented their credentials to the Vice President.

Presenting his diplomatic credentials, Ambassador Timbo conveyed warm greetings and felicitations from His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the President, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Supreme Council of the UAE, His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Vice President, the Government and People of the UAE.

The envoy thanked the Vice President, his Government and the People of the UAE for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded him and his team since their arrival in the Emirates less than four months ago, wishing the Vice President and his People steady success and prosperity.

On his appointment by H.E. President Ernest Koroma as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Gulf State of UAE, Ambassador Timbo said that it is a demonstration of the importance Sierra Leone attaches to the already existing cordial ties between the two countries and promised to serve diligently in the interest of both countries.

President Koroma’s envoy promised to further nurture, concretize, consolidate and enhance the already existing diplomatic and economic relations between the two sister countries based on economic, political and cultural cooperation.

Our cooperation in having your great country, Ambassador Timbo furthered, to host the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Headquarters in Abu Dhabi and the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, is a clear testimony of the goodwill existing between the two countries.

He commended the UAE for its rapid economic development, peace, stability and security and also hailed the prudent policy adopted by the UAE under the leadership of President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sierra Leone’s top diplomat in the UAE also used the opportunity to inform the host Government through the Vice President about the Ebola outbreak in his country.  “Your Highness, you may have been following events in my country during the last few months.  My nation is battling with the emergency outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease”, the soft-spoken Ambassador said.

He also disclosed that the Sierra Leone Government in collaboration with its International Development Partners rolled out a six-month plan to eradicate the scourge.  “We count on good friends like Your Highness and the United Arab Emirates Government to help us through this trying period of our history.”

Concluding, the Ambassador said his success during his tour of duty depends largely on the support and commitment of the UAE Government.  “Your country is famous for efficiency, altruism, hard work and strong belief in the Almighty Allah. With all that, I am optimistic and feel at home in the United Arab Emirates,” Ambassador Timbo concluded.

In accepting Ambassador Timbo’s credentials and the other newly accredited Ambassadors, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Rashid bin Maktoum formally welcomed them to the UAE and assured them of UAE’s cooperation and support to make their tenure of office a success.  He wished them a happy and successful stay in the UAE and asked them to convey his greetings to the leaders of their respective countries.

The Vice President assured them that they will be accorded hospitality and cooperation by the Government and People of the UAE, for them to easily perform their missions. He said that the UAE, as part of the global village and as a signatory to the UN charter will respect all the diplomatic protocols and encouraged the Ambassadors to make all the necessary visits to the whole of the UAE and acquaint themselves with the UAE policies, culture and vision.

He also stressed the UAE’s constant endeavour to develop economic, cultural and tourism relations with Sierra Leone and the other countries.  Earlier, Ambassador Timbo inspected an official guard of honour. A military band also played the Sierra Leone national anthem and those of other countries. The Ambassador was accompanied by his wife, Haja Martha Timbo and the Head of Chancery, Eric B. Gamanga. A number of Sheikhs, Ministers and senior state officials in the UAE also attended the ceremony.

In another related development, the Ambassador on Sunday, 2nd November, 2014 also presented his credentials as Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – an intergovernmental organization with financial knowledge on renewable energy that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.

The colorful credentials presentation ceremony took place at the IRENA Headquarters in Abu Dhabi. In accepting the credentials, the Director General of the Abu Dhabi-based Agency, Dr. Adnan Amin commended Sierra Leone for the active role it has always played to IRENA from its preparatory days in 2008, through its formation in 2009 to its present day.

He commended the Sierra Leone’s President Koroma, for his support to IRENA and for having attended one of their summits. He noted the active participation played by Sierra Leoneans since 2008, including the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Timbo, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Professor Ogulande Davidson amongst others. He assured Ambassador Timbo of his personal cooperation at all times and wished him success.  The Ambassador thanked Dr. Amin and staff and assured them of his active participation. He noted that Sierra Leone was amongst the first eight countries to win the first cycle of the IRENA Renewable Energy competition, leading to garnering a soft loan of $9M from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for the construction of a 5MW Solar Farm in Freetown.

In another engagement, Ambassador Timbo delivered a speech as Guest of Honour at the Annual Prize Day Ceremony of the Cambridge High School in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 20th November 2014. He thanked them for according him the privilege of speaking at the ceremony as ‘Chief Guest’ less than four months after taking up appointment as Ambassador to the UAE. “Without education, this gathering would not have occurred; and without education, we would not have known each other. The power of education to change not only the individual but the whole world cannot be underestimated,” he told his audience.

The envoy added that an educated person, an educated community, an educated society and an educated world is the engine of growth and prosperity. He reiterated that it is a truism that learning is better than silver and gold and that learning is a smooth road to silver and gold.

Historically, he pointed out, Sierra Leone has an excellent record in educational achievements as she at one time was referred to as ‘the Athens of West Africa’, taking credit for the schooling of most first-generation educated West Africans. He also informed them that Sierra Leone has the first university in sub-Sahara Africa.

 

VOICE FROM MATEBOI : Exploring Safe and Dignified Burial Public Response

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

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By Jonathan Abass Kamara

The new World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol for Safe and Dignified burial of People who die from Ebola virus disease emphasizes inclusion of family members and encouraging religious rites as an essential part of safe burials. The protocol encourages inclusion of family and local clergy in the planning and preparation of the burial with specific instructions for Muslim and Christian burials.

President Koroma in his strides to contain the outbreak noted from reports received from health professionals that over 20 percent of Ebola infections occur during burials of Ebola deceased patients. He recently interacted with Ward Councilors, Tribal heads and Religious Leaders at the Miatta Conference Center throwing the challenge for the control, reduction and containment of the disease with their active participation in their various communities. The challenge is now in the hands of these people including Paramount chiefs, Parliamentarians and other stake holders across the country.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation Health Education Division with support from WHO has just concluded a community engagement advocacy stakeholders meeting with 69 Ward Councilors and Stakeholders in the Urban/Rural Western Area on Safe and Dignified burial, and Neighborhood Watch, which ended at the Leicester community. Many issues of concern by communities in hot spot areas by bereaved families and relatives were raised against Burial and Swab Teams, Contact tracers and Surveillance officers. Some of the concerns expressed include delays in collecting corpses, producing timely results and handling of their deceased loved ones among other issues.

BUILDING TRUST AND RESPECT  

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and WHO by building trust and respect between burial teams, bereaved families and religious leaders are now building trust and safety in the response. Brining families and the local clergy in the community to pay last respect to the dead before lifting the corpse for burial, and at the grave yard side, though five (5) meters away from the grave makes significant difference in averting Ebola transmission

It is noted that Ebola infection occur during burials when family and community members perform religious rites that require direly touching or washing the body, which still contains high levels of Ebola virus. According to Ebola Specialists, where family members share personal property of their loved ones which may be infected with the virus poses a big threat. This is a common cultural practice especially in rural Sierra Leone. A recent Independent Observer local tabloid quote the IFRC Secretary General Ethadi As Sy thus: “we are becoming known for dead body management, but we do not manage dead bodies. we safely, and respectfully in a dignified manner accompany our deceased fellow human beings and help to prepare them in accordance with their cultures, for their last resting places”.

 

GROWING CONCERNS

Making their contributions in their various wards during Advocacy Meetings organized in western urban/rural area, community members expressed their growing concern on movement of people in Quarantine homes, from one place to another, harboring the sick, and the denial by some members in affected communities.

In building trust, respect and confidence in the health systems approach to end the Ebola war, the country has seen progress in the area of burial, case management and logistics, and also in the Presidential social mobilization campaigns across the length and breadth of the country, but the defile continues to pose a challenge to make the expected impact.

The question is, when shall we as a nation, patriotically join President Koroma, the government and partners to beat Ebola?

Together we can do it.

 

 

MRU Secretary General Commends staff of Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

 

Freetown, Nov. 24, 014 (MOHS) – The Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU), Hadja Dr. Saran Daraba Kabba has commended staff of the Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre for the great sacrifice they continue to render in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.

HASTINGS TREATMENT CENTRE PRAISED

A cross section of the Survivors

Addressing survivors and guests at the Hastings Police Training School Keith Lewis Hall at Hastings, Hadja Dr. Saran Daraba Kabba said she has been galvanizing support for the three affected MRU Member States from development partners and the international community.

She informed her audience that in March this year when the outbreak was reported in Guinea, the MRU Secretariat was among the first institutions to provide financial support to the Ministry of Health of Sierra Leone during the preparedness stage.

Dr. Saran Kabba expressed her special thanks and appreciation to the health workers of the Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre for the great services rendered to patients, noting that the centre, since its inception on the 19th September 2014, has discharged 307 Ebola Survivors. This, she said is a great track record worth recognition especially that the centre is operated solely by Sierra Leoneans.

“You are doing a great job and reducing the case fatality rate for your country”, Dr. Saran Kabba said.

To the survivors, the MRU Secretary General described the event as a great day for them and encouraged them to thank God for having granted them healing. She implored them to go to their communities and be agents of change, by sharing their stories and encouraged others to seek early treatment.

Dr. Kabba also expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Health and other development partners for their great work and support to combat the disease. The Secretary General on behalf of the MRU pledged 20 tons of rice to the Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre as token of appreciation.

Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Madam Madina Rahman commended the MRU and health development partners for their continued support in the fight against the Ebola virus disease in the country.

Madam Madina Rahman informed her audience that plans are underway for the opening of treatment centres at Waterloo, Hastings Airfield, Police Training School phase II Ebola Treatment Centre, Goderich and the 34 Military hospital.

She lauded the health workers for the great sacrifice to contain the disease and implored the survivors to be ambassadors in their various communities.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, disclosed plans to empower survivors engaged in business, and to provide scholarship to students that survived the virus.

Alhaji Moijue Kaikai also disclosed plans to take care of orphans, and assured the audience of his Ministry’s mandate to seek the welfare of vulnerable women and children.

The Country Manager, Sierra Leone Bottling Company Limited, Israel Okujagu, described the survivors as heroes and heroines for surviving what he referred to as the deadly Ebola battle, and reiterated his organization’s continued support in the fight to contain the disease.

Deputizing the Centre Coordinator, Capt. Dr. Songo Briwa said since the inception of the centre on the 19th September, 2014, they have admitted 526 patients and discharged 307 survivors.

He said no staff got infected since the opening of the centre and reiterated their commitment to maintain the centre’s success story.

Distribution of Discharged Certificates, food and non-food items formed part of the occasion.

KK/MOHS

Door to door Ebola campaign expands to new epicenters, reaching 100,000 Households.

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

 

 EBOLA WARNING

“Without community ownership, it will be difficult to fight Ebola, even impossible to make any meaningful headway” Director of Disaster Management Department.

 

Port Loko, Waterloo, 28 November 2014: Disaster Management Department (Office of National Security) with support from UNDP is expanding its door to door campaign to the new Ebola epicenters in the country targeting 100,000 households in the next two weeks in Waterloo, Port Loko and Moyamba with specific lifesaving information. The campaign is expected to reach one million people in total.

 

The door to door campaign is taking place following the recruitment and training of 300 community disaster management volunteers which ends in Moyamba town today. The volunteers, drawn from the localities in the new Ebola epicenters will give out information ranging from the importance of early treatment, keeping families safe from infection while waiting for help and welcoming survivors back into the community as a way of reducing stigma associated with Ebola. The UNDP-supported campaign is part of national efforts to engender behaviour change in order to stem the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone.

 

In the past 21 days Sierra Leone has recorded exponential rise in the number of Ebola infections. Latest WHO figures show that while reported case incidence is stable in Guinea with 148 confirmed cases reported in the week to 23 November, stable or declining in Liberia – 67 new confirmed cases in the week to 23 November, but in Sierra Leone the infection may still be rising with 385 new confirmed cases in the week to 23 November.

 

In addition to the continued rise of cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, the epicenter is shifting from the east of the country (Kailahun and Kenema) the original epicenters, to the Northern Province which includes the iron ore mining districts of Port Loko and the Western Area, which includes Waterloo and Freetown.

 

The Western Area continues to have the highest rate of infection, with 280 cumulative cases in the past week. Port Loko is also a major area of concern, with 120 cases in the past 7 days according to WHO figures.

 

Town chief, turned community volunteer, Chief Alimamy Bethembeng II from Waterloo, himself a volunteer in the door to door campaign in the Waterloo community, said that with the right information, using face to face methods, and using people who are part of the community, things will hopefully change. “We have to defend our communities from Ebola.” He said as he moves from house to house in Faya-mambo neighbourhood in Waterloo, one of the worst hit areas in the Western Area.

 

During one of the training sessions in Port Loko, Director of the Disaster Management Department, Mary Mye-Kamara said that the face to face campaign has been extremely successful around the slums of Freetown and is the preferred method for effective awareness raising on Ebola.

Ms Mye-Kamara said “People in some of these communities are still suspicious of outsiders coming into their neighbourhoods and villages telling them about Ebola. Some of them think that these outsiders are the ones spreading the virus. This is why we are engaging the local people, train them so that they will do the awareness raising themselves. That is the only way forward now.”

She added “Without community ownership this is difficult, even impossible to make any meaningful headway. The imams need to understand and accept that they cannot be doing the same burial rites like before…otherwise the virus will spread.”

 

Mye-Kamara noted further that denial is still very high, as is distrust and reticence in the community and says that everyone should now get involved “People said to us why should they be bothered to take their sick relatives to the hospitals and treatment centres when the ones who had been taken before did not return… they are going to die anyway. But now we are saying to our compatriots that, with early treatment, there is a huge chance of survival. We are showing them evidence of people who have recovered from the virus. They are seeing it and we continue to hope things will change. Ebola will go” She said.

 

Denial, suspicion about the spread of the disease, low level of knowledge and information are still very much prevalent especially among the poor in urban and rural areas. The face to face campaign hopes to target the hard to reach villages and communities with the right information in Port Loko, Moyamba and Waterloo in particularly where the virus is spreading.

 

UNDP Programme Manager Saskia Marijnissen says “Stopping the Ebola outbreak will not only depend on improved knowledge, but also on a change in attitude and practices. Our approach actively engages community members in a dialogue to motivate behaviour change.”

UNDP is at the forefront of the fight against Ebola, mobilizing communities against the disease, helping people recover from the crisis and assisting governments to continue to provide basic services, and to develop Ebola impact assessments and recovery plans.

 

For further information please visit our website: www.sl.undp.org; follow us: Twitter.com/UNDPSierraLeone and on Facebook.com/UNDPSierraLeone

 

For more information contact: Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Officer, UNDP Sierra Leone. Email: Abdul-karim.bah@undp.org

 

 

CDC Foundation Donates Critical Transportation to Fight Ebola

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Embassy of the United States of America
Public Affairs Office

Freetown November 28, 2014

Contact: Hollyn Green
Tel: 076 515 000

CDC Foundation Donates Critical Transportation to Fight Ebola

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE – Ambassador John Hoover handed over 24 multi-purpose
vehicles and 29 motorbikes to the National Emergency Response Center’s Chief Operating
Officer, Stephen Gaojia on behalf of the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)
Foundation on November 28.

EBOLA VEHICLES 1

 

The vehicles will assist with critical transportation needs to
combat the Ebola epidemic. The vehicles were provided by the CDC Foundation through a
donation by Mark Zuckerberg – Founder of Facebook – along with his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan.

The cost of the vehicles and airlift expenses to Sierra Leone was $1.6 million.
Dr. Oliver Morgan, Acting Country Director for CDC Sierra Leone states that “These vehicles
will help maintain a critical function for the Sierra Leone Ebola outbreak response, which
includes fulfilling transportation needs for laboratory specimen transport, case investigation,
and surveillance.”

EBOLA VEHICLES 2

Since the outbreak began in March, the CDC Foundation has raised more than $44 million to
support a range of real-time, on-the-ground needs identified by CDC and its public health
partners in West Africa. The Foundation, through gifts from generous donors, is providing
funding for the development of ongoing emergency operations centers in countries hardest hit by
the outbreak – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The CDC Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization established by the U.S. Congress
in 1995. The Foundation’s mission is to connect the CDC with private-sector organizations and
individuals to build life-saving health programs around the world. For more information, please
visit http://www.cdcfoundation.org/

Ambassador Koroma calls on AU Member States to exercise caution in implementing Ebola preventive measures

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

 

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ambassador Ismael Koroma has called on Member States of the African Union to exercise caution in implementing Ebola preventive measures, and to also adhere to medical guidelines provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

AMBASSADOR ISHMAEL KOROMA  CAUTION

 

Addressing the African Union Peace and Security Council Open Session on Ebola in West Africa on Friday 28 November, 2014 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Ambassador Koroma said that the issues of isolation and stigmatization are becoming very serious concerns and obstacles in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the continent. He informed that few weeks ago, a senior Government delegation from Sierra Leone that was traveling to attend an important meeting within the continent got stranded in Accra, Ghana. “The members of the delegation were initially refused access to board the flight that was to take them to the host country for the meeting by an African airline, simply because they were carrying Sierra Leonean passports,’’ he lamented.

The Sierra Leone Deputy Permanent Representative told the AU Peace and Security Council that in as much as Sierra Leone understands the need and welcomes the strides by sovereign Nations to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus into other parts of the continent; Member States should restrain their authorities concerned, and also take into consideration WHO’s guidelines on the EVD in exercising preventive measures. He passionately encouraged Member States of the Union to implement the decisions of the Emergency Extra-Ordinary Executive Council Meeting on Ebola, held in August 2014, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He further appealed for more urgent international support to Sierra Leone, in order to defeat the Ebola epidemic within the shortest possible time. He also registered profound gratitude to Member States of the African Union as well as other international partners and friendly nations that have contributed their professional medical expertise and resources to combat the EVD in Sierra Leone.

Abdul Karim Koroma
Information Attaché
Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Email: akk23222@gmail.com