By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
The Information and Communications Minister –Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu is undeniably one of the Ministers in the Cabinet of the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma that is very much committed in ensuring that the war against Ebola is won in record time. He has not only been very active in helping People shift their cultural and Traditional beliefs in which the virus used to be associated with, but he is also said to been the brain behind what can be referred to as the Local Pattern of ‘making do with the little you have at hand’. He calls it the Local Content Policy art of ‘killing the snake with the stick you have than waiting for a redeemer that is slow in showing up.
The ideology seemed to have gained a centre space in the quest for a workable solution to confront the Virus when the World was paying a deaf ear to the cries of Government for an immediate intervention. His Excellency –President Ernest Bai Koroma set up an Emergency Ebola Fund and encouraged his Cabinet Ministers to contribute about 50 percent of their Salaries to commence the fight. Sources say President Koroma also had cause to divert funds initially intended for Development Projects when the International Body was so slow in intervening.
Hon. Alpha Kanu as in the case of every other well meaning Descendant of Port Loko is perturbed by the escalating figures of Ebola related cases emerging from his home District. The Port Loko District Members of Parliament have just concluded a Sensitisation Campaign on the basic facts about Ebola at Constituency Levels in addition to the series of General Meetings conducted in the District Headquarter Town on how to prevent an infection of the virus. Perhaps it is as a result of all of these efforts that such huge figures of Ebola cases have continued to surface in the District.
Whatever your perception is, the fact remains that these figures are very scaring and the People of Port Loko should once again seek for a way that would bail them from this embarrassing situation. It was recently resolved that the proposed Ebola Treatment Centre at Gbom Samba be relocated to Port Loko for obvious reasons as the Information Minister would say it. Apart from the fact that the Gbom Samba Project was painfully slow, the Location has never been ideal enough. I gathered that President Koroma was quite displeased with the clumsiness at the Gbom Samba Site which has subsequently compelled the authorities to think of alternatives.
It was at this juncture that the Information and Communications Minister has once again resurfaced in the forefront with an unfading appetite to have his People redeemed from the clutches of this killer disease. He has since been desperately searching for a place all this while until now when he seems to have secured one. It is the former Skills Training Centre for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society at Old Port Loko towards New Maforki Town. He was physically there last evening to have the preliminary modalities where I caught up with him for a brief interview.
Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu described the new found Place as most ideal for the intended purpose of an Ebola Treatment Centre. He said one of the advantages it has is that the Land is vast and isolated with existing structures which could only require a few rehabilitations and refurbishments. He said some Youths have so far opted to clean up the entire Place adding that the Centre would be ready within a couple of days. He spoke of the encouraging results emerging from the Holding Centre at the Government Hospital in Port Loko where about half a dozen People have been successfully treated and discharged to rejoin their relatives in the respective homes.
The Information and Communications Minister expressed optimism that the fight will soon be winnable banking on the fact that some Cuban Medics have already deployed in the District while the British Team is expected any time from now to ensure that the virus is deflated sooner than later. He said it is obvious that the virus can easily be nabbed now that most Natives have refrained from the denial syndrome after the series of sensitisations as well as the apparent determination of the International Body to intervene in salvaging the situation.
You now have the opportunity to glance at the Site of the Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko which was visited by Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu…….