Address to the Nation on the Ebola Outbreak By His Excellency The President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma July 30, 2014
Today, I ask the entire nation to mourn with the families of our national heroes including Dr. Sheik Humarru Khan who lost their lives battling the Ebola outbreak in our country. They were true patriots, paragons of service. We must win this fight in honor of their memory, and with prayers in our hearts, for all our compatriots who are victims of this deadly disease.
Since the outbreak, my government, in collaboration with development partners has continued to mobilize and deploy resources and expertise nationally and internationally to fight the disease. I have been in contact with world leaders and global partners to meet the challenges; we have set up coordinating mechanisms with the World Health Organization and other international bodies; we set up an inter-ministerial committee to mobilize MDA support activities; trained and deployed hundreds of health workers, contact tracers and burial teams; and facilitated awareness raising on the disease by paramount chiefs, religious leaders, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, musicians, okada riders, market women, the media and ordinary citizens.
The disease is beyond the scope of any one country, or community to defeat. Its social, economic, psychological and security implications require scaling up measures at international, national, inter-agency and community levels.
Extra-ordinary challenges require extra-ordinary measures. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) poses an extra-ordinary challenge to our nation. Consequently, and in line with the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act Number 6 of 1991, I hereby proclaim a State of Public Emergency to enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak.
In order to continue to take direct control of the situation, I have cancelled my trip to the US-Africa Summit in the United States of America. On Friday, I will be travelling to Conakry, Guinea to meet with my colleague Heads of State of the Mano River Union to discuss our sub-regional strategies to defeat the disease.
We are launching a National Response Plan to inaugurate Phase Two of our fight against the disease. I also hereby establish a Presidential Task Force on Ebola which I will chair to champion the implementation of the following:
These measures will initially be implemented for a period of 60 to 90 days, and subsequent measures will be announced as and when necessary.
In addition, Government is establishing a special account for donations from corporate interests, organizations, the Diaspora and the general public to support the fight against Ebola.
I also hereby declare Monday August 4, 2014 a National Stay at Home Day for Family Reflection, Education and Prayers on the Ebola outbreak.
Fellow citizens, this is a national fight, and it behoves all of us to stand together to promote the truth about this deadly disease. Ebola is real, and we must stop its transmission. There have been over 130 survivors of the disease. There is hope that early detection of the virus in persons can boost their chances of survival. This is why it is very necessary to get those with the virus to treatment centers not only to prevent others from contracting the virus, but also increasing their own chances of survival.
Fellow citizens, Sierra Leone is in a great fight. We are a resilient people. And we must not fail. The sustainability of our actions for prosperity depends on winning this fight. Failure is not an option. We all need to come together to win this battle.
Thank you for listening and God Bless Sierra Leone.