By SIRAJU BAH :
Siraju Bah:The Minister of Information and Communications Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu together with the District Medical Officer, the District Coordinator for NERC and WHO has on a working tour visited almost all the holding centres in the Porto Loko District on Tuesday 11th November, 2014 to assess the status and progress of work on the centres and to provide the necessary support for their speedy completion.
The holding sites the Minister and his team visited included Lokomsama Holding Centre, SUmbuya Holding Centre in the Kafubulu Chiefdom, Melekuray Community Health Centre, Lungi Tagrin Holding Centre, and the Kambia Home Care Centre in Tainkatopheh Makama Safrakoh TMS Chhiefdom.
Urging contractors to speed up the work, the Minister said the communities are in dire need of the centres noting that there are cases in the communities that needed to be taken to holding centres away from their relatives in order to reduce the risk of infecting more people within the communities to avoid worsening the situation by multiplying the number of infected cases in the district.
He applauded the Command and Control Centre of the district saying that it has done a marvelous job of tracing all infected persons in the district but do not have a center to keep them and therefore urged the contractors and their staff to double their effort and make the centres available as soon as possible.
The Ebola expert from Uganda Dr. Monika did not mince her words when she said that by Christmas the disease will be a thing of the past assuring the Minister that they are working assiduously to ensure that by the following Friday all suspected cases would have been removed from the homes to the treatment centres and calls for the collective support from all stakeholders and the communities.
Assessing the work In Lokomsama, the Minister and the visiting team applauded the effort of the contractor and his staff as they observed that the work is going on at an appreciable speed whilst the contractor also assured them that the centre will be ready in the next three days
Whilst visiting the TMS Chiefdom, the Minister and his team were informed by the locals of a small village of 17 houses called Matete village that they have lost close to 20 people to the Ebola virus and further reported that they have three suspected cases and two dead bodies in the village.
After consoling the bereaved, the Minister immediately instructed the District Medical Office, Adikali Alpha Kamara and the District Coordinator for NERC, Hon Raymond Kabia to take immediate action and assured the people that the deceased will be buried the following day whilst food will be supplied for the quarantined.
The Minister further educated the locals about the dangers of the disease and encouraged them to be wary about the way they conduct themselves and advice them to refrain from practicing all traditional actions that will lead to the transfer of the virus.
Hon Alpha Kanu further encouraged them to avoid body contact emphasizing the fact that the disease is contagious and can transfer easily through body fluid and admonished them to report the sick as soon as possible to seek medical attention to help save their lives saying that it is likely that when they get medical attention as early as they notice possible symptoms they can be cured and warn them emphatically against burying their dead but rather call the burial team.
The Minister identified a school in the Kambia village about a mile from Matete village in the same Chiefdom to be used as a Home Care centre in order to facilitate the process of removing the sick from the community and isolate them in a place where they will be supported with the necessary treatment.
The Paramount Chief Bai Kama Nidiki of TMS Chiefdom welcomed the idea of using the village school as a holding center and assured the Minister of his unflinching support in the fight against the virus.