By State House Communications Unit :
President Ernest Bai Koroma Thursday 11 December visited the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) Situation Room at the former Special Court Building in Freetown. He made the visit to have firsthand information about strategies, implementation and progress of the national Ebola response across the country.
The president thanked NERC for their continued efforts in the fight against Ebola and expressed several concerns about laboratory and bed capacities so that there should be a coordinated approach in every aspect of the fight. He stressed the significance of social mobilization as the key to the success of winning the fight against Ebola. “To what extent have we sensitized the communities? He asked. President Koroma pointed out that local ownership and participation will be of immense help in halting the spread of the virus, but however expressed utter dismay over the spiking rate of new cases in the Western Area, a place many believed to have the highest number of exposed and literate people. “With all the sensitization, Western Area is still posing serious challenges after couple of months the outbreak was announced in Kailahun and Kenema…The cases have surpassed those areas,” he fumed.
President Koroma assured NERC of his unstinting support and commitment on any issue requiring immediate action. “I assure you that whatever is required, acquisition or anything that want to happen, send the executive request; we will use an executive order to ensure we don’t find ourselves saddled with too much bureaucracy,” he assured. On the issue of Kono, he encouraged NERC to take a retrospective look in order to fully assess the situation to address the existing challenges and avoid recurrence of such challenges trickling down to other districts. He also reaffirmed his commitment to continue to mobilize community involvement until Ebola is eradicated.
Making a presentation, Mr. Mamoud Idriss noted that plans are being made to increase the number of labs to six and bed capacity by nine hundred and forty two in the western Area by the end of the month respectively. He said five of those labs will be available by 14th December 2014. The NERC will enhance active case finding, social mobilization and contact monitoring and reinforce the resources of Western Area Command Centre. Mr. Idriss also informed that a site for cleaning and decontamination of ambulances will be available in the next few days.
As unsafe burial continues to be a major source of infection in Kono, DFID’s Ebola point-man Donal Brown suggested that Ebola messages should be taken to the ward level and ensure that the samples get to the labs as quickly as possible.