Freetown, June 17, 014 (SLENA) – Health and Sanitation Minister, Miatta Kargbo has described the outbreak of the Ebola killer disease as another war that calls for the attention of every Sierra Leonean including Parliamentarians.
Presenting the current status of the outbreak in the Well of Parliament, Madam Kargbo reiterated the commitment of the government and partners to contain the disease, describing the situation as a natural war that needs the moral support and responsibility of all well-meaning citizens of Sierra Leone.
MS. MIATTA KARGBO
The Minister lauded the sacrifices made by health professionals, pointing out that in the process of saving the lives of other people some past away. A tragedy the Minister described as pathetic in the event of saving life.
She denied claims of health workers abandoning their duty stations and enumerated instances where her staff worked under threat and crisis they could not stand due to community resistance in giving out the necessary cooperation in managing the situation for referrals and treatment.
Commenting on the Kailahun situation, Madam Kargbo said most of the cases where from Kailahun and more attention was given the district including other high risk districts like Kono, Kenema, Kambia and Port Loko. Surveillance, contact- tracing, and other interventions have been strengthened, and sensitization intensified in the Kailahun district, its immediate environs and other areas. “Before now, Kailahun had 14 Surveillance Officers but with the current trend 300 Volunteers have been recruited bringing the number to 314 to enhance effective surveillance system”, the Minister said.
Apart from the sensitization of Parliamentarians in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Religious Leaders, Tribal Heads in the Western Area, Bike Riders, Motor Drivers Union, Traders, Paramount Chiefs and Media Practitioners have been sensitized and given orientation to help create the necessary awareness and education on the prevention of the disease.
The Minister spoke on the closure of schools in Kailahun and the risk of children contacting the disease, pointing out that the continuity of schooling is a risk, whilst the closure is a life saving intervention.
Some of the challenges and lessons learnt, the Minister said include negative press report that could be disastrous, strong resistance from communities, escapees from treatment and observation units, total support for nationwide awareness raising campaigns and the resources for health promotion and logistics for case management.
Number of cases tested as of March 2014 was slated at 193, confirmed cases 83, 20 deaths and 10 survivors as of June 16, 2014.
The Parliamentarians described some utterances in some radio stations and newspapers as disastrous to the fight to contain the disease, and reiterated their total commitment and willingness to collaborate with the Ministry, its partners and Inter-Ministerial Committee to make the necessary impact.
The Parliamentarians in their contributions lauded the Ministry for the hard work since the outbreak in Guinea, and pledged to go to their various constituencies to sensitize their people. They call on all and sundry to put aside partisan, regionalism noting that the current crisis is a core task for Sierra Leoneans.