President Ernest Bai Koroma has arrived in Kono district to continue his social mobilization drive for community involvement and ownership of the fight against Ebola by engaging paramount chiefs, religious leaders, traditional and cultural society heads, MPs, Councillors and other stakeholders to scale up their efforts and be vigilant to break the chain of transmission of the disease.
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting at the Diamond Lodge in Yengema, the president said that Ebola is not a political fight but one that requires the input of all and sundry in not just Kono district but the entire country.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that Kono was never an epicenter or hot spot, saying that the local authorities promised to do more to reduce new confirmed cases.
“The increase in new infection rates is good and bad at the same time. It’s good because more people have come out to report symptoms of the virus. And bad because people are still obstinate in terms of general compliance with the byelaws.”
He urged the chiefs to implement the byelaws without let or hindrance, and vowed that any chief whose chiefdom is still recording cases should take responsibility.
President Koroma noted that contact tracing, surveillance and social mobilization must be intensified to break the chain of transmission of the virus, and added that Kono now has more facilities such as treatment and holding centers and laboratory to end the outbreak.
He maintained that the State of Emergency was still in force and can only be relaxed when Ebola is defeated.
The president underscored the need for the unconditional enforcement of the byelaws and lamented the fact that government was busy developing the country when this “evil virus” struck.
With a zeal that never tires, President Koroma vowed that he will cover every inch of the country to ensure Ebola is defeated at all cost.
“In your own little corner, you should always think of the bigger picture and ensure that we treat this outbreak very seriously.”
The Head of State also reminded the people that Ebola is not a money making venture as they did during the war, noting that people should stop the habit of receiving salaries for work they didn’t do, and called for effective coordination at the district level to stop the chain of transmission.
“Let’s close our ranks to fight Ebola,” he urged. He admonished male and female survivors of the disease to observe the stipulated 90 days abstinence period and warned that the law will take its course against male survivors who fail to observe the 90 days period.
Hon. PC Sheku Ahmed Tejan Fasuluku Sonsiama commended President Koroma for his effective handling of the outbreak and called for more assistance to tackle this epidemic.
The paramount chief also paid glowing tribute to the president for ensuring that they chiefs receive the much needed help to intensify their efforts to break the chain of transmission of the virus. He urged for total compliance with the byelaws and the health measures stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
The District Ebola Response Center (DERC) Coordinator PC Paul N. Saquee V informed that there are still challenges with respect to the behaviour change of the people to comply with the byelaws and health measures instituted by the ministry to help halt the transmission of Ebola. He promised the president that Ebola will be under control by the time he visits next.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Madam Diana Konomani called on his colleague Minister of Health and Sanitation to continue to encourage health workers especially those at Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) to resume work