By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
You may be aware that the Northern District of Port Loko has been one of the Districts with a leading number of Ebola related cases in the Country and has often resulted to a general embarrassment not only to its Descendents, but the Nation as a whole. There has therefore been a series of strategies mapped out to contain the spread of the disease. Sadly enough, none of those strategies have really brought in the desired results as most people had continued to do the don’ts – such as encouraging sick people to secure treatment in their homes, accommodating strangers from distant places ,the touching of dead bodies and above all , conducting secret burials. Recently, the Port Loko District Taskforce came up with a pattern of Lockdown that was code named – Operation Surge which is comprised of 3 Phases.
It was at the third and final stage of these Phases that prompted the District Coordinator of the Ebola Response Centre – Hon. Raymond Kabia to proceed to Burreh Kasseh Maconteh – one of the affected Chiefdoms in the District on an assessment visit. The main purpose of the visit was to help him have an insight of the prevailing situation on ground, and to as well sort out ways through which the virus can be eradicated from the District without further delay.
At the Kargbanthama Holding Centre where he made his first stop, Hon. Raymond Kabia was informed by the Community Health Officer in Charge – Gbassay Khalu that the Centre was quite operational under the management of Plan Sierra Leone. The Community Health Officer said it is a 12 Bed Facility that was established in early November 2014 which receives its Medical Supplies from the Chiefdom Headquarter Town of Mange Burreh. He said the Centre has successfully handled over 50 cases and stressed the need for the construction of Drainage at the Chlorine Mixing Point.
Coordinator Raymond Kabia made his second stop at Rogberay Kasseh where he was received by Paramount Chief Bai Burreh Saidu Lugbu 11 of Burreh Kasseh Maconteh who is also the Port Loko District Paramount Chiefs’ Representative in Parliament. The Paramount Chief said there has been a vast improvement in terms of compliance to the Bye Laws in his Chiefdom, adding that the only few cases were from Dibia Chiefdom. Dilating on how the 3 Day surge was observed in the Chiefdom ,he said a total of 10 Groups were formed that comprised of 2 Military,2 Police, 2 Contact Tracers, 2 Sub Chiefs and 2 Volunteers that were provided with Motor Bikes as they went on a House to House search for unwell persons throughout the Chiefdom.
At Massana Village in the Mareinka Section which is the largest section in Burreh Kasseh Maconteh, Hon. Raymond Kabia was accorded a rousing welcome. The community expressed concern over the issue of food supply. As outlined by Oryando, and buttressed by Abu Kamara, they have not been supplied with a single grain even though they were registered several weeks ago. They also used the opportunity to inform the Coordinator about their vast and uncultivated bushes, swamps, and bolilands. They further spoke on their desire to engage on commercial Agriculture and appealed for the intervention of Government. The People of Mareinka Section said they were in daring need of a Mobile Phone Pole to qualify their membership to the Global village.
In his response, the Port Loko District Coordinator praised the efforts of the People of Burreh Kasseh Maconteh for their untiring efforts in making sure that every sick person is identified and removed from the community into either a holding or treatment centres. He expressed a special thanks to the Health service givers who often get infected in the execution of their duty. He went further to brief them on the determination of President Ernest Bai Koroma in ending the scourge and the sort of international support that has so far been pumped in the fight against Ebola. He however noted that nothing will actually end the spread of the virus than when everyone else is willing to comply with the rules and regulations set up to end Ebola. He said Paramount Chief Bai Burreh Salu Lugbu and his People should continue the good hard work, noting that the future of this Nation is at stake until some drastic measures are adopted.
Hon. Raymond Kabia said, he was going to make a follow up on the concerns of the People of Massana. He therefore encouraged them to forge ahead in their commercial Agricultural pursuit. The Coordinator said he will do his best to influence BRAG – one of the None Government Organisations operating in the District, to pay an assessment visit of the swamps they mentioned in their welcome address. Below are some Pictures that will help you have a better glimpse of what I have written. It includes a photo of the Kargbanthama Holding Centre, the Paramount Chief of Kasseh and a cross Section of the Massana Community.