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Archive for February, 2015

SHIPPING OF SERUM SAMPLE TO THE MAXIMUM SECURITY FACILITY ( BIO-CONTAINMENT LEVEL 4 – BSL4) IN SOUTH AFRICA FOR LONG TERM SECURITY AND SAFE STORAGE.

Friday, February 27th, 2015

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE
Office of the President

JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE ONS AND MOHS

SHIPPING OF SERUM SAMPLE TO THE MAXIMUM SECURITY FACILITY ( BIO-CONTAINMENT LEVEL 4 – BSL4) IN SOUTH AFRICA FOR LONG TERM SECURITYAND SAFE STORAGE.

1. The Office of National Security (ONS) in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) wish to draw the attention of the general public to the consignment of serum samples intercepted at the Lungi International Airport on 25th February 2015.

2. The public is hereby informed that the MOHS has confirmed that the consignment contained 2,592 (Two thousand five hundred and ninety-two) serum samples in 72 boxes by 36 vials which were bound for South Africa for safe storage and follow-up diagnostic and research investigation in the BSL4 Laboratory – the only maximum containment laboratory in Africa.

3. The shipment is done in line with an agreement between the MOHS and National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) Laboratory at Lakkah to ship the samples to the BSL4 Bio Safety Lab in South Africa for safe storage and further research.

4. The ONS therefore wants to assure the general public that the shipment is done in accordance with International Health Regulatory Standards. There is therefore no cause for alarm.

5. The safety and security of the general public is hereby assured.

— at State House (Sierra Leone).

Ebola update : From Deputy Chief of Mission Kathleen FitzGibbon

Friday, February 27th, 2015
KATHERINE FITZGIBBON

There is no doubt that we are on a bumpy road to zero cases of Ebola. Epidemiologists tell us that we are on a plateau after experiencing a significant drop in cases as our efforts “broke the curve” at the end of the year.

However, the number of new cases has increased and of serious concern because they are coming from unsafe burials, illegal burials, herbalists treating patients, and sick individuals actively avoiding the response system. One dramatic case is an individual from the Aberdeen cluster of cases fleeing to Makeni and dying there. This case has resulted in 20 other infections as family members and others touched and washed the body. Failure to follow safe burial procedures for every death is weakening our defense against Ebola.

Complacency and lax adherence to standard operating procedures will enable Ebola’s counterattack to succeed. We all need to be MORE VIGILANT, not less, until the country is declared Ebola free. Let’s not be distracted from stopping this epidemic. We should be encouraged that the micro-surge that blanketed the Aberdeen area with surveillance officers, services, and assistance has worked. There have been no new cases reported from the cluster for eleven days in Aberdeen.

The emergency responders are taking the same active case finding approach to Hagan Street and Market areas. Collaboration with the contact tracers, surveillance officers, and other responders is critical in this complex environment. Complacency kills and if every resident decides that Ebola Stops With Me, we can get to zero much more quickly.

I.B. Kargbo lectures Jengo Stevens

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

 HON. IBRAHIM BEN KARGBO
7 WELLINGTON STREET
FREETOWN
24th February, 2015.

Dear Comrade Jengo Stevens,

I acknowledge the letter dated 16th February, 2015 addressed to the Secretary General of the APC and copied me as member of NAC and to also state that your appeal for an investigation into the Party political activities of Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma with a view to relieve him from the offices of Leader and Chairman of the APC is not only perceived by many as misplaced, misdirected but also totally at variance with provisions in the Party Constitution of 1995.

Comrade, I am writing this letter to you in my personal capacity to remind you that the removal of Elected Party Members from their positions can only be determined by the outcome of decisions taken at recognized Party Structures and not by mere correspondence between yourself and the Secretary General of the APC.

The thrust of your letter of appeal seems to suggest that Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma’s occupancy of the Leadership and Chairmanship of our glorious Party is irregular. It must be noted, however, that you failed to provide a strong argument to justify your claim that the Leader and Chairman should be relieved of one or both of the offices mentioned. And may I state that a request of this nature cannot be based on flimsy and wishful thinking as your argument should have been covered by appropriate reference to the Party’s Constitution.

There is no indication that Comrade Ernest Bai Korma is occupying the two positions ultra vires the Party Constitution, in fact his present occupancy of the two offices is consistent with the provisions in our Party Constitution strongly supported by a court ruling.

May I also emphasize that precedent is very clear that past Leaders of our Party also occupied two and sometime three positions while in office. President Siaka Stevens, one of the founders of our great party was not only Leader of the All People’s Congress Party but also Chairman of the Party apart from the fact that on more than three occasions he was the flag bearer of our Party during elections. May I remind you, dear Comrade that President Siaka Stevens at one time was actually elected Secretary General of the Party at a time when he was also Leader, Chairman, President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, yet the entire membership of the Party supported him and remained loyal to him.
On the mode of selecting running mates and the tenure of the Leader and Chairman himself, may I remind you that these are matters that can be politically discussed at the highest organ of the Party, the National Congress.

I have endeavoured to raise these issues because your letter to the Secretary General is full of weak arguments deliberately tailored to incite the Party membership against the current Leader and Chairman of the Party. Why was this matter of so called multiple appointments not raised when Dr. Siaka Stevens, our great Leader, and President Joseph Saidu Momoh occupied the position of President, Leader and Chairman of the same APC Party? We need not over emphasize the point that occupying two offices as Leader and Chairman of our glorious Party is a precedent which is part of the history of our Party.

To remind ourselves of the recent past the matter of restricting one position to an incumbent, was contested by you and others and your view to hold on to the 1995 Constitution was accepted by a court of law. Now, you want us to go back to the Constitution which you rejected without going back to Congress.

May I state, that if you and party members who hold your view intend to effect any change in the occupancy of the Leadership and Chairmanship of the Party, this can be done through the popular will of the general membership of the Party not by a mere handful of people. Furthermore, your criticism relating to the infrequent meetings of NAC is a clear indication that you have not grasped the fact that a group of respected members of NAC like yourself can cause a meeting of NAC to be convened as you really do not need the Leader and Chairman of the Party to convene ‘many’ meetings which the Secretary General’s Office can easily do.

As I conclude, I can only state that so-called appeal for an investigation into the Party political activities of Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma with a view to relieving him from the offices of Leader and Chairman of the APC, can only be seen as a deliberate step by you to ferment internal feud in an effort to destabilize a Party that has remained stable for the past eight years.

You are a highly respected member of the Party and I expected you to respectfully take a complaint as serious as the suggestion that the President should be removed from political offices, should be taken to National Congress for deliberation to avoid any breaking of the law and to avoid interfering with provisions entrenched in our Party Constitution.

At the moment it is legally and practically impossible to remove Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma from the position of Leader and Chairman of the APC. Also, even as I respect you a s a dedicated member of the APC may I state that in our determination to exhibit love for our Party, the approach should not be based on throwing spanners in the works, for you fully understand the consequences of being saddled with a destabilized Party, a Party which our founding Fathers sweated profusely to build for future generations.
Your Friend and Comrade,

Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo

Cc: Leader and Chairman of the APC Party
Secretary General APC Party
The Vice Chairman APC Party

But President Koroma Is The Whistle-Blower

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

 

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

Probably, those who were misappropriating funds meant for the eradication of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone might not have heard of the Achebe-ian proverb of “A debt may get mouldy, but it never decays” (his novel: “No Longer At Ease”).
And the 39 people who are, at present, under investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have proven, or are proving, that indeed “a debt may get mouldy, but it never decays”. And all the alleged Ebola money-choppers are no longer at ease with the ease with which they were masticating Ebola funds few months ago.

GOVERNMENT ROBUST RECOVERY 1

But if that has been the only issue, I would have been contented “to bury our [Ebola] dead, console the maimed [well, Ebola orphans may be described as psychologically maimed] and proceed with a calmed will into the future” (to quote the Nigerian egghead Wole Soyinka’s “The Man Died). But since members of the opposition and the opposing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) itself are now spinning the “Ebolagate” as if it was the Koroma-administration that’s caught red-handedly with both hands in the cookies’ jar; I think I should do them the favour of putting things into perspectives.

To all intents and purposes, if there is now an audit report on the management of Ebola funds; it is because it was President Ernest Bai Koroma who it was that provoked and challenged Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) into action. The Auditor General was awoken from her reverie by the incessant re-echoing of the President that “Ebola money is blood money and those misusing it will have to give account”. Long before ASSL sprang into action, it was the President who alerted the nation in public speeches that some people who were managing those funds, including local and international organizations, were playing monkey tricks with those funds. But since the President is not an auditor; he left that domain with the Auditor General. And now that his pre-instincts have been proven right by the Auditor General’s report; he has left the issue now with the investigators at the ACC and members of parliament (though some are involved and we are waiting with held breaths to see how will some “police” really “police” themselves!).

Though unease lies the head that wears the crown, to quote William Shakespeare, but to totally lay the blame on the President’s shoulders because he appointed some of those who allegedly masticated Ebola funds is an example of below-the-belt-hitting tactic. It is like sentencing an innocent father for the heist of his sons and daughters. Why should the President be castigated by the opposition when he should be given pats on the back for being the whistle-blower?
It is standard practice, the world over, for armchair-airconditioner critics to do what they are best known for from the safety of their offices or homes. But if it is so hard to praise the President for being the whistle-blower; I don’t think it would be that hard to even mention that in the post-Audit Report era he is still re-echoing that “Ebola money is not meant to be chopped” (according to the Awoko newspaper of Monday February 23, 2015).

Even when old people tell their grandchildren bedtime stories, they made conscious efforts not to tell those which involve dried bones or sepulchres. But in the case of President Koroma, he did not only call for an audit but has accepted the Auditor General’s report with alacrity and is still calling for the investigations of international NGOs and Agencies which received Ebola funds on behalf of the Sierra Leonean people. This further shows that his hands are not only clean, in terms of the management of Ebola funds, but his conscience is clear also!

Last Friday at Mile 91 in Yoni Chiefdom, northern Sierra Leone, while delivering his keynote address at the official commissioning of the Union Trust Bank, President Koroma noted that his government would use “the due process of the law to reinforce adherence to my government’s commitment to transparency and accountability as far as the Ebola funds are concerned… We are also committed to pursuing the matter to its logical conclusion”. And what else could the President do? Except wait for Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Commission, on whose integrity the people of Sierra Leone depend on, “to manifest how responsible they are in ensuring a fair outcome of their findings…”

And it is on that note that I will epilogue today’s One Dropian dropping with a Yoruba proverb, which was very often quoted by the late Nigerian unrepentant Freethinker, Dr Tai Solarin, that says: “a man on whose head coconut is cracked cannot eat from it”. But, like Dr Solarin, President Koroma has repeatedly been cracking coconuts on his head and at the same eating from them! Did you get my meaning? No? Then scratch the surface…

medsankoh@yahoo.com/+232-76-611-986

Is SLPP A Party Of Wolf-Criers?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

 

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :

In no political organization, the world over, can one find celebrated cry-babies than in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Since the September of 2007 to date, members of that Grand Old Party (GOP) have always found occasions to either cry wolf or shoot themselves in the head.
Even if a presidential candidate of the SLPP is appointed Chief Electoral Commissioner in the very election s/he is standing in; the SLPP will still find reasons to cry wolf. Why not? Wolf-crying has been the lot of the SLPP since 1967. And that is something which seems to be part of that party’s DNA.

cry wolf

And true to its known trait, the SLPP has been crying wolf for the last two years now to the extent that sane and rational Sierra Leoneans have started asking whether most of its members are not suffering from chronic nightmares of a “very long winter” (to borrow the phrase of Dr Sama Puawui Banya) or whether they are now constantly sleepwalking in the sun. The SLPP, as a party, seems to have developed the propensity to oppose everything and anything.

Whether it is by wilful design or otherwise, the SLPP has developed the habit of always seeing apparitions where there are only angels. Even before the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) could even find an office space to start its work; the SLPP cried wolf of perceived “manipulated and flawed constitutional review process”. Even before Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) could find a date for the now postponed national housing and population census; the SLPP cried wolf of an APC-nized and northernized SSL even though the reality shows that the current SSL has wider national flavour than its south-east colourations during the SLPP reign.

The SLPP is so fixated with the next general elections so much so that when most of its members go to bed all they see in their dreams are spectres of 2007 and 2012. And it is because of this “programmed” (to borrow an American phraseology) state of mind that the SLPP has already started fantasizing about ballot-stuffing and election violence at a time when the National Electoral Commission (NEC) doesn’t even know whether the next general elections would be held in 2019 or 2020.
But the trouble with wolf-criers is that when the actual wolf appears amongst their flock; their voices would have been so croaky that no one would hear them or no sane person(s) would actually take their SOS calls seriously. And to muddy the already muddied waters further the SLPP’s mouthpiece, the Unity newspaper, of “Monday 9th 2015” editorialized the SLPP’s standpoint thus: “There is enough time for boundary delimitation after census”.

According to the argument posited by that newspaper, which by Wallace-Johnson Street logic and “Kailahun Court Barray” standard is the SLPP’s position, if the 2004 Local Council election was held without fresh boundary delimitation then the next general elections should be held without the completion of the constitutional review processes and the conduct of the census. The logic (the SLPP’s, of course) behind that warped logic is that, “… if that precedent has been set, what prevents it from happening this time round if we are caught up in a similar situation?” (Page 3 of the Unity newspaper under review).

My answer to that rhetorical question is twofold: First, the situation might be similar but the circumstances might be different in the sense that it was only a “Local Council Election” in 2004, while we are now talking about four-in-one elections (Presidential, Parliamentary, Mayoral and Local) in 2019 or 2020 (delete where applicable!). Secondly, nations are not expected to follow bad precedents but to emulate good ones! If Dr Christiana Thorpe had followed the bad model of Dr James Jonah’s electoral practice of “subtraction” of superfluous votes; then there would not have been the need to invalidate surplus votes in 2012.

The SLPP is, at present, feeling uneasy simply because during its eleven years’ rule, there were many things that were done wrongly which the current Koroma-led government is trying to make right. And the problem with that GOP is that it believes in political untidiness and haphazardness. During its reign, it set up a Constitutional Review Commission which ended up not reviewing anything. The national housing and population census it conducted was a comedy of errors as most of the data were either sexed-up or doctored; while the 2002 election it conducted was an epitome of rigging and intimidation.

And to add hemlock to vinegar, the SLPP’s “Access Course” at our universities and its “Sababu Project” were not only untidy at best but substandard at worst. Even its creations of the National Revenue Authority (NRA); the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), and Office of National Security (ONS) were cloudily intended to be tribal and regional guinea pigs. And if I decide to catalogue the many white elephant projects under the SLPP; the list will definitely be marathoned simply because it will have cause to be marathoned!
So, the SLPP should stop its perennial wolf-crying antics and try to accept the fact that the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) knows very well that cry-babies could be lulled to sleep by lullabies. And the lullaby seems to have just begun…

medsankoh@yahoo.com/+232-76-611-986

New WHO Regional Director Commends Sierra Leone in the Fight against Ebola

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

 

Freetown, Feb. 23. 015 (MOHS) – The newly appointed World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has commended Sierra Leone for the current progress in the fight to contain the Ebola virus disease noting the dramatic increase of cases in December 2014.

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WHO Regional Director Dr. Matshidiso Moeti

Speaking during a courtesy call on the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah at his Youyi Building office in Freetown, the WHO Regional Director Dr. Moeti noted that the potential challenges that manifested during the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are lessons for her institution to be able to respond to future outbreaks in the region.

She reiterated that December 2014 was worrisome but very impressed now with the encouraging situation to getting into zero infection through the relentless efforts of the leadership of the country, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the government and partners.

 

 

(From extreme left) Dr. Moeti WHO Regional Director and team

Dr. Moeti noted that the Health Ministry is moving in the right direction working on a Recovery Plan to get a resilient health system within the Ministry’s National Strategy to sustain infrastructures health workers, equipment and other essential logistics for its Post Ebola drive. She expressed sympathy and condolences on behalf of her organization to the bereaved families, and the government for the death of the huge number of health workers and other citizens affected by the disease.

Making his response, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said government and partners are for the past few weeks following the trend of the epidemic with the focus on getting into zero infection. “We will continue to chase the last case”, Dr. Fofanah opined.

The fight to contain the Ebola virus disease to this current level, Dr. Fofanah said was a turbulent moment with an unprecedented commitment by government since the disease was “mysterious” and new to a country with a weak health system.

He described the epidemic as the biggest to affect three countries at the same time in West Africa and lauded WHO Country Office, the international community and other local and international partners for scaling up efforts in the fight to end the pandemic.

The Minister in a related development, made a Presentation to the Regional Director and team in the Ministry’s conference hall at Youyi Building on the Ebola Outbreak, focussing on the gaps, emergency preparedness, major constraints which included logistics, infection prevention control, low beds capacity, limited diagnostic facilities, weak human resource, and the move to building a functional resilient health system that would restore trust, community ownership and seeks the Agenda for Prosperity for Post Ebola Sierra Leone.

JAK/KK/MOHS

 

Traditional and Religious Leaders to Champion New Ebola Vaccine Study in Sierra Leone

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

 

Freetown, 20, 015 (MOHS) –Tribal Heads, Religious Leaders and Ward Councillors in the Western Area have been briefed about the new Ebola Prevention Vaccine (marklate) to be introduce in Sierra Leone in March this year.

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Cross section of the participants

Addressing the stakeholders meeting at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown on Thursday February 2015, the Acting Provost, Principal College of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences and Principal Investigator, Dr. Mohamed Samai told his audience that the vaccine is important because it might help protect people from getting Ebola during this outbreak and future ones in helping to save lives.

 

The goal of the study in Sierra Leone, Dr. Samai said, aims at evaluating how well an Ebola prevention vaccine helps protect people from getting Ebola, and to expand the safety profile of the vaccine from previous smaller studies. This and other Ebola prevention vaccines he said are being studied in other African countries, the USA, Canada and Europe.

Commenting on the time line, Dr. Samai said it is expected that the study will begin early March 2015 after obtaining the necessary approvals that ensures national and international safety and ethical standards, adding that the study has already been approved by the Sierra Leone Ethics and Scientific Review Committee, Ministry of Health and Sanitation. “Approvals are also pending from the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the CDC Institutional Review Board”.

“These approvals, including using the rvsv-ZEBOV Vaccine, are expected in the next few weeks”, affirmed Dr. Samai.

The study districts are Western Area and chiefdoms in the Bombali, Port Loko, Tonkolili because these are the severely affected Ebola districts in the past few months.

Participants that are eligible to the vaccine are health care workers noting that their jobs put them at higher risk of getting Ebola.

“Until the study begins, study leaders would continue to engage leadership at the national, district, and community level. These engagements include Paramount Chiefs, Tribal Heads, Religious Leaders, Ward Councillors, and Elders in the study areas. The press has been targeted for sensitization, education and awareness raising.

The Health Education Manager and Chairman for the occasion, Mr. Lansana Conteh underscored the importance of the vaccine in places where Ebola outbreaks are happening as it would help protect people from getting the disease.

 

He described the role of Traditional and Religious Leaders, and Ward Councillors in sensitizing and educating their various communities about the new vaccine as very crucial in achieving the desired goal of the study in Sierra Leone, and thanked them for their continued support in the fight to contain the disease.

The study in Sierra Leone is in partnership with USA Centre for Disease Control (CDC, COMAHS, University of Sierra Leone and the National Public Health Service.    JAK/KK/MOHS/SLENA

 

Diaspora Focus Awards Health Minister, CMO and CNO

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

 

Freetown, Feb. 24, 015 (MOHS) – The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo and the Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu are the proud recipients of the Africa Diaspora Focus 2014 Humanitarian Award among the first 45 from 100 nominees around Africa.

 

Speaking at the ceremony held in the conference hall of the Ministry at Youyi Building in Freetown on Monday February 23, 2015, Mr. Emmanuel Stafford, the Director, Diaspora Focus an organization formed in the United Kingdom to advance the cause and welfare of Africans living abroad and returning home to better integrate and contribute meaningfully to their communities and societies, said the institution is a community based organization, registered in Sierra Leone towards a holistic developmen

Dilating on the choice and selection of the awardees, Mr. Stafford noted the sacrifices made by a good number of institutions and individuals in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease, citing the efforts made by the Health Minister, the Chief Medical and the Chief Nursing Officers’ leadership role in the fight to contain the disease.

The Meritorious Award, Mr. Stafford opined, is a humanitarian gesture to serve as motivation for the redoubling of more efforts, commitment and dedication to push Ebola to its final end.

“Your efforts should not go unnoticed, and Sierra Leone should appreciate the sacrifices made by you to save lives”, Emmanuel Stafford opined.

Dr. Brima Kargbo receiving his Award

Responding, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah and the Professional heads – the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo and the Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu said they were grateful for the recognition and honour bestowed on them for their hard work and promised to intensify efforts in the discharge of their duties.

 

Dedicating the Award to the fallen heroes, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah noted the risk and sacrifices made by frontline health workers, and the value of the Award as a motivation to do more, describing it as a thoughtful treasure.

The Minister on behalf of the President, the government and people of Sierra Leone, thanked Diaspora Focus for the applauding venture, adding that no gift or reward is too small for a work well done.

diaspora award

Second from right Deputy Minister II, Madina Rahman celebrates the success story

Highlights of the ceremony include the citation and Conferment of the Award by the Chairman International Committee Board of Africa Development Award, Mr Alex Bangura, and a moment of Silent Prayers for the Late Dr. Humar Khan and other fallen heroes in the fight against Ebola.

JAK/KK/MOHS/ SLENA

The Connaught Dialysis Unit, Pride of the First Lady Expected to commence operations soon

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

connaught

Freetown, Feb. 24, 015 (SLENA) – Plans are currently underway to get the Dialysis Unit at the Connaught hospital fully functional.

The visiting Israeli Technical Team from Israeli Cooperation, Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jerusalem, Team Leader, Dr. Baratt Yosef has disclosed plans to assemble a state of the art mobile clinic and the strengthening of the capacity of the Dialysis Unit at Connaught hospital to starts operation soon.

The goodwill gesture according to Dr. Baratt Yosef came as a result of the cordial bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and Israel for decades.

Apart from the equipment in country other equipment are expected to come from Liberia, Dr. Baratt during a courtesy call on the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said. He also disclosed plan to provide a package for training opportunity.

The Nephrologist, Dr. Socoh Kabia told his audience that they are now in a desperate situation for the urgent operation of the Dialysis Unit with committed trained staff.

 

He said the enthusiasm is high, and expressed delight over the coming of their Israeli counterpart to collaborate for the sustainability and resourceful operation of the unit.

Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah described the Dialysis Unit as an important catalyst initiated by the First Lady for the treatment of Kidney to ease the problem of overseas travelling.

 

The Minister, on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone expressed thanks and appreciation to the Israeli Government for the donation of the equipment and the technical assistance, hoping that the full operation of the Dialysis Unit commences between February and March 2015.

JAK/KK/MOHS/SLENA

PRESS RELEASE : WHO Regional Director for Africa concludes first leg of visits to Ebola affected countries

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

24 February 2015, Freetown – Today, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, wraps up her visit to Sierra Leone, her first to an Ebola affected country.

DR. MOETI

The 3-day visit, which started on Saturday 21st February 2015, was aimed at gaining a better understanding of the ongoing situation, what progress has been made so far and which areas WHO could further support the country to get to zero Ebola cases.

 

“Since I took office earlier this month, bringing the Ebola outbreak to an end is one of my top priorities,” Dr Moeti says. “The epidemic has a devastating impact on the health care system of the affected countries. WHO and partners are working around the clock with all available resources to get to zero cases,” she continued.

 

The Regional Director visited the Maforki Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko where she had the opportunity to interact with numerous partners, including the District Health Management Team, the District Emergency Response Center, Partners In Health, the Cuban Medical Brigade. “Getting to zero means that we all have to work together as a team, as each partner brings their set of skills and expertise in the field. I was encouraged to see that strong collaboration,” she added.

 

“I was very much touched by the story of Sherrie, an Ebola survivor and founder of ‘The Rescue Team’ in Port Loko district,” she says. The “Rescue Team” – a network of almost 100 Ebola survivors in the area, is actively involved in public education and awareness to tackle stigma and discrimination of Ebola survivors.

 

Speaking to reporters at the end of her visit, Dr Moeti commended the extra-ordinary efforts by the government and people of Sierra Leone and the coalition of international partners, which has contributed immensely to the reduction of confirmed cases.

 

Looking ahead, the Regional Director underscored the importance of deepening community dialogue, strengthen cross-border collaboration and implement a number of cross-cutting and regional actions to ensure Africa as a continent is better prepared in the event of future outbreaks.