On a day when there were just two Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, President Ernest Koroma last Thursday said that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s initiative to establish the Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) was a “wonderful idea,” which has greatly helped in the coordination of response efforts.
President Koroma said that UNMEER has effectively coordinated with international bodies and other institutions to set up structures and capacities that have helped to drive down transmission figures.
The President who was speaking to UNMEER’s outgoing Sierra Leone Ebola Crisis Manager, Amadu Kamara, at State House in Freetown, added, “Let me through you thank the Secretary General because UNMEER has done a great job. It will be an example of a UN success.”
He recalled that the UN peacekeeping mission for Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) had been another UN success story. UNAMSIL successfully disarmed and reintegrated combatants following a civil war that lasted from 1992 to 2002. “So, UNMEER will not be an exemption,” said the President.
He lauded Sierra Leonean born Kamara, describing him as a “true son of the soil” who had carried out his functions with excellence. “You have worked to get us to where we are today. We are now in a better position to chase out Ebola. I have personally enjoyed working with you; I admire your humility.
“You have done yourself, your family and your country proud,” said the President, stressing that his government was determined to get the country back on track.
Kamara who was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as ECM for Sierra Leone in October last year, thanked President Koroma for his support and cooperation during his tenure. “You showed exemplary leadership and provided support particularly during trying times,” he said. He maintained that although the work was not yet done, the country was in a better position today than it was months ago.
The outgoing ECM solicited the cooperation of the President and his administration for the incoming ECM, Bintou Keita, whom he said has experience and knowledge of the country, and would help in efforts to finally defeat Ebola
Also, in Sierra Leone’s Ebola Situation Room, key players in response efforts, including Paolo Conteh, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Stephen Gauja, NERC’s Coordinator and representatives of other organizations praised Kamara’s work. Paolo Conteh described him as a tireless worker who will be remembered by all.
Ebola transmission figures figures have been going up and down in recent times, and the World Health Organization has warned that the road to zero transmission will be bumpy.
Until last week when the virus hit Aberdeen, central Freetown, Ebola cases in the country were mostly in single digits.