Sierra Leone’s Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Richard K. Konteh has said, “Government has not in any way trivialized and kept in secret the issue of Cholera out-breaks in Sierra Leone. (Photo: Members of the high table)
Responding to questions from a good number of senior African-American citizens with Sierra Leonean decent, including members of the All People’s Congress (APC North America executives) at the prestigious Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey last Sunday, Dr. Richard Konteh said “the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has not in any way trivialized cholera outbreak, but instead, without any delay mustered support both locally and internationally to combat the outbreak. Because of the seriousness and importance President Ernest Bai Koroma attached to the outbreak, the president has declared the out-break a “public health emergency”.
The Trade Minister confirmed reported cases from other parts of the country other than Freetown the capital, and said “such a situation warranted a swift and coordinated response from all Government agencies, humanitarian agencies, development Partners, the media, NGOs, civil society, community groups and the general public – to reduce fatality rate and mitigate the risk of continued infections; that was why President Ernest Bai Koroma set up a task force headed by no less a person than his Chief of Staff Dr. Kelfala Marrah.
Contrary to rumors and untruthful stories being peddled, the Minister of Trade said the government of Sierra Leone through the World Health Organization has brought in international experts to find out the cause/s of the Cholera outbreak in the country.
Dr. Konteh re-echoed government policy relating to cholera and said, “Cholera treatment is FREE in all government health facilities and cholera treatment centers (e.g. Macauley Street, Connaught Hospital, Wellington, 34 Military Hospital, Newton and Mabela) in Freetown, the capital and other Hospitals through- out the Country.
He said the “government of Sierra Leone is receiving overwhelming support from World Health Organization(WHO),UNICEF, Sierra Leone Water Company, Inter religious bodies, Communication Companies, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Society- comprising of different nationalities across the world. ”Quite recently, a Cargo plane filled with Cholera drugs, medical equipment, Doctors and Nurses landed in Sierra Leone from the Finnish Red Cross in Finland.
“As I speak, over six hundred local people(Sierra Leoneans) across the country have been trained to carry out house to house sensitizations about the prevention and treatment of Cholera. “So, Government is doing its best to eliminate it from the country and prevent it from future occurrence/s”. “Cholera does not in any way recognize any political party as a condition to wreck havoc”.
The Hon. Minister frowned at some Sierra Leoneans who took delight in spreading false and baseless news about Sierra Leone and the cholera outbreak: “Cholera lacks the power to discern – so please help pass this message around, always store drinking water in a clean, covered container placed on a raised platform, always wash fruits and vegetables with safe water before eating or peel completely, always cook food well (especially shell-fish and fish) and eat while hot, always cover all foods to protect from flies and dust, always wash all utensils with soap and safe water before and after use, always drink safe water (Boiled or chlorinated),always wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, before putting anything in your mouth (eating), handling food, and after caring for a sick person or cleaning a baby.
In his own contribution, Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the Sierra Leone Mission assigned to United Nations Reverend Leroy Wilfred Kabbs Kanu thanked the Hon. Minister for his detailed briefing of the cholera situation in Sierra Leone and described people peddling false and baseless news about Sierra Leone as “unpatriotic . “They don’t need to that; after all cholera out-break in a Country is a national issue that should not be politicized. He praised President Ernest Bai Koroma for setting a task force to handle the situation.
In his vote of thanks, Chairman APC New Jersey chapter Alhaji Badara thanked the Hon. Minister for responding to their very short notice. He described members present as community leaders in New Jersey and opinion leaders who will be in a position to correct any wrong news regarding this issue.
Earlier, Director APC North America affairs Mr. Foday Mansaray welcomed guests.