Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, has informed spouses of African Ambassadors in PR China that, the outbreak of the virus in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has seriously affected their development efforts as well as accounting for the deaths of thousands of people in the last couple of months.
Her Excellency Madam Kumba Alice Momoh spoke on January 14th at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in China, where she was invited to talk to spouses of African Ambassadors on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Giving a retrospect, Madam Momoh informed the Group of African Ambassadors’ Spouses that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa captured the world’s attention in 2014 and has been “the largest and longest Ebola outbreak in history” that has “taken the lives of more people than all other Ebola outbreaks combined since 1976 when it was first encountered by the DRC -Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The Virus, she said, was first reported in March, 2014 in the Republic of Guinea followed by Liberia and Sierra Leone in May, 2014. “Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The incubation period, is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. Early symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle, pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash symptoms, abdominal or stomach pain and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding”, she said.
This wave of Ebola Virus Disease, Madam Momoh said, has clearly demonstrated to the Developed Nations, that the world is facing a very deadly enemy that has no respect for boundaries, race, and gender.
Speaking at the country level perspective, Madam Momoh said, Sierra Leone has been making great strides in the fight against the virus. Following the outbreak of the disease in Sierra Leone, Madam Momoh informed her audience that, President Ernest Bai Koroma took robust measures to contain the spread of the virus as well as ensuring treatment for the affected persons.
“There was the establishment of the Presidential Task Force and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). This was followed by the declaration of a State of Public Emergency. The Task Force rolled out an intensified call for sensitization and Public Education. Epicenters were built across the whole country where patients of the Ebola virus have been tested and quarantined when proved positive of the virus. Government also decided to embark on a three days ‘stay-at-home’. This action proved successful given the numbers of Ebola infected persons discovered and treated during the period.”
Explaining further about the national response to the virus, envoy Momoh said, “President Koroma and his team did their very best with the given resources and medical personnel to fight this deadly disease but the increased deaths rate required an international intervention. The international community came on board and they have since been of great support. They are still on the ground working very hard to see the end of the Ebola Virus Disease.”
Dilating on the role the People’s Republic of China has been playing since the outbreak, Madam Momoh said, the Chinese were the first to go into Sierra Leone in August 2014, and to the other two affected countries- Guinea and Liberia to assist in the fight against the Ebola virus, whilst also commending the outstanding support that the United Kingdom, United States of America, WHO, WFP, UN, IMF, European Union, African Union and many other nations have given.
On the cultural aspect, Madam Momoh said, the Sierra Leonean culture has been one of the contributing factors to the spread of the virus. “However, the reality of the disease has now given our people enough evidence to change mindsets and accept that Ebola is a deadly virus. People are coming to terms and are gradually facing the hard truth.
She also informed the group about the country’s First Lady, Her Excellency Sia Koroma’s effort in the fight against the virus as seen in her visits to a number of Epicenters and giving support and courage to the frontline workers such as doctors, nurses and burial teams.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy
People’s Republic of China