By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
There can now be no better way to demonstrate that the People of Port Loko are brimful with determination to conquer the fight against Ebola so that President Ernest Bai Koroma could forge ahead with his desire to develop the Country as contained in his ‘Agenda for Prosperity’.
The Locals themselves have come to the realisation that their livelihood is hinged on the outcome of the war against this killer disease. Thus they have not only come to adhere to the clarion call of the President for every well meaning Sierra Leonean to team up with his Government in this fight, but have as well resolved to comply to whatever is required of them for this scourge to be brought to a logical conclusion.
It is in this vane that the Paramount Chiefs in the Port Loko District have denounced their stance of denial by accepting that Ebola is indeed a real killer disease instead of associating it to what can be said to be primitive beliefs. In Masimera, Buya Romendy, Burreh Kasseh Maconteh, Marampa and Maforki Chiefdoms, the inhabitants have been so much sensitised that many have now converted themselves to Ebola Contact Tracers in the various Communities. In fact quite a good number of Chiefdoms have started implementing the recently established Bye Laws on Ebola.
In Marampa Chiefdom a fine was levied on some Natives including the Chiefdom Speaker for failing to report the death of a relative, while a Ward Councillor and a Community Health Worker are currently in Remand at the State Prisons in Port Loko for allegedly inciting Youths to protest against the proposal of making the Health Centre at New Maforki a rehabilitation Centre. This was a venue intended for an Observation Centre where those who survive the disease could be kept for a few more days before proceeding to their respective homes.
It appears as if the necessary lessons have now been learn by Natives and are now willing to register their contributions without reservation. As pointed out by the Minister of Information and Communications Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu himself, every Stakeholder is doing his or her bit. He spoke of the Non Government Organisation, Donor Agencies and Philanthropists who made several contributions in salvaging the plight of People in Quarantined Homes. He said the Politicians have since conducted sensitisation campaigns in every constituency in the District. As for the Paramount Chiefs, the Information Minister said most of them were now willing to provide vast pieces of Land for the construction of either a Holding Centre or a Treatment Centre as would be required by the Medics. In the Maforki Chiefdom Headquarter Town of Port Loko, Paramount Chief Alikali Mella 11 has provided vast pieces of Land for the Construction of a Holding Centre, a Treatment Centre as burial sites for Ebola Corpses.
Hon. Alhajie Alpha Kanu has just returned to Port Loko to have a thorough assessment of the ongoing works. His first stop was at the former CAR Centre of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society which is now to be transformed to an Ebola Holding Centre with about a hundred bed facilities.
The Rehabilitation Project has ready been awarded to the KAN Construction Enterprise and work was at an advanced stage. Every aspect of the work was being simultaneously done- be it fencing, painting, wiring or plumbing. Gibrill Kanu is the General Manager of the KAN Construction Company. He said they were now at the tail end of the Site Clearing, together with the construction of the Perimeter Fence. He told the Sierra Leone News Agency [SLENA] in an interview that he enjoys the cooperation of Community members and was confident that the Centre would be complete in two weeks time.
Dr. Adikali Alpha Kamara is the District Medical Officer in Port Loko and was with the Information Minister in his assessment visit. He said the target is to transfer the Holding Centre from the Government Hospital in Port Loko to the former CAR Centre at New Maforki which he said would be ideal enough for the handling of Ebola Cases. Dr. Kamara said the Centre will be partitioned into two. He said the front section is intended for those on Observation and awaiting results of their blood samples while the back of the Centre will be for those confirmed to be Ebola Positive.
Hon Alhajie Alpha Kanu later proceeded to the Maylaykuray Road where the British are trying to construct a Treatment Centre. He said there was now a considerable response from the International Body citing the deployment of Cuban and British Medics in the District of Port Loko. The Minister of Information and Communications expressed optimism that Ebola related cases will not only begin to scale down in subsequent days, but that People will now regain confidence in medical service. He said it is very likely that the disease will soon be a thing of the past now that both the Locals and International Bodies have seen the need to complement the efforts of President Koroma and Government.
Below are the Scenes at the CAR Centre in Maforki and the Site at Maylaykuray where work was now at a top gear………