Mabel Whenzle Intern FBC:
Minister of information and communications Alhaji Alpha Kanu has assured the press at the Ministry’s weekly press conference on November 27, 2014 about government’s unflinching determination to end Ebola saying that “government is fully committed towards the fight against Ebola.” He noted that unless people decide to change their attitudes towards the Ebola virus disease there will continue to be a rise in the number of infected cases.
He emphasized the fact that body contacts, continued traditional practices and denial of the disease continues to play key role in the spread of the deadly virus whilst urging the public to take all necessary precautions to avoid contracting the disease once and for all.
Whilst addressing Journalists at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Acting Director of the National AIDS Secretariat said the secretariat has been working tirelessly towards the mitigation and prevention of the HIV/AIDS virus in the country. Abdul Rahma Sesay noted that since its establishment in 2002, the secretariat has done extremely well in stabilizing the epidemic to 1.5% which according to him is evident in the declining prevalent rate of infection amongst the adult population.
He informed media practitioners that due to the strides the country is making towards containing the epidemic, Sierra Leone has been identified as one of the key countries in the elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of the virus and thus pilot the UNAIDS strategy of eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030.
Highlighting some of the challenges of the Secretariat, the Acting Director said since the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in February this year, one of their major challenges has been the collapse of health care facilities across the country disclosing that their major focus at the moment is to ensure that their clients regain the lost trust and confidence in the health sector and continue with their treatment.
Giving an update on this year’s World AIDS Day Celebration, IEC/ BCC Coordinator Abubakarr Koroma said this year’s program will largely focused on the Ebola virus disease. He said a major highlight will be a press conference that will be broadcast throughout the country on the theme, ‘’Close the gap on HIV/Ebola, prevent infection, go for early treatment and stop stigma”
This, he added,, is very much strategic as it is only when people report for early treatment, avoid contact with body fluid and accept survivors back into their various communities that they can be sure to cut down the transmission rate of the disease.
Commenting on the 2015 annual budget, Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mathew Dingie, noted that for the first time in sierra Leone the budgetary arrangement is been divided into two scenarios which has to do with the Ebola case scenario and the assumption of the likely crossover of the virus to 2015. Mathew Dingie said in all of that the ministry has prepared a supplementary budget that will tackle either situation.
The Director of Budget further stated that the 2015 annual budget will place more premium on areas such as the salaries and wages of all public sector workers for additional 15% for the next three years, the revamping of the Health care sector , Education and Agriculture. This according to him is all geared towards stabilizing the economic status of the country in the coming year.