SLP Communications Unit
The three day stay at home sanctioned by the His Excellency the President of the Republic Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has gone off to a good start, reports coming in confirm that full compliance is being experienced in the Western Area Region and other parts of the country.
The stay at home is an exercise of reflection as described by His Excellency the President in his address to the nation on Thursday 18th September 2014. In his address, President Koroma stressed the point that it requires the collective efforts of all Sierra Leoneans to win this war against the scourge that has taken a foothold in the country. Coming across as confident and upbeat, President Koroma confirms that “our country is in the midst of a big trial but by the grace of God, we shall overcome this.” These are “extra ordinary times and extra ordinary times require extra-ordinary measures,” the President declared.
Highlighting the objectives of the stay at home, President Koroma identified the “Ose to Ose tok” campaign as one of the extraordinary measures with over 7,000 trained teams of health workers, community volunteers and other NGO partners that he has sanctioned to get the message about the Ebola virus to every house in every community in the country. Team members will provide information on what to do if a family member gets sick and promote hand-washing with soap as an effective means of protection, share information material on Ebola and mark their homes with a sticker.
Confirming the Police mandate, President Koroma admonished the nation that during the “ose to ose tok” campaign, it is important for the police to maintain public order. According to President Koroma, he confirms that “in doing so, the security forces have a duty to exercise maximum restraint so that peace is preserved and the rights and dignity of every Sierra Leonean are upheld to the extent possible.” Going further, President Koroma advised that “the police will urge anyone who is found on the streets without good cause to go straight home.”
The Sierra Leone Police, on the instructions of the Inspector General of Police, Francis Alieu Munu is monitoring the effectiveness of the stay at home in relation to its security implications and impact. Inspector General Munu sanctioned a high powered communications team to attend some of the major District headquarter towns across the country in order to monitor and record the campaign and the compliance measures already in place.
In addition, the monitoring of Regional and District level command will also support a national evaluation by the force as to the specific ramifications of this exercise on the containment of this virus.
In another development, the United Nations Security Council in a highly unusual move on Thursday 18th September 2014, at around the same time His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma was addressing Sierra Leoneans, declared the Ebola crisis in West Africa to be a threat to international peace and security and unanimously passed a resolution that calls on countries worldwide to urgently send medical personnel and supplies to contain the virus.
“It’s a call to action not just from the Security Council but from the whole United Nations family” said Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States which drafted the resolution. In addition, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon announced a plan to set up an emergency mission to tackle the swiftly spreading disease that had already ravaged Sierra Leone Guinea and Liberia, spreading panic and fear. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that “the gravity and scale of the situation now require a level of international action unprecedented for a health emergency.” The 15-0 vote was co-sponsored by 131 counties, the largest co-sponsorship of any UN Resolution ever.
Commenting on the smooth start to the Sierra Leonean stay at home declared by His Excellency the President, Inspector General Munu reaffirmed that the Police will maintain a pliant but watchful eye on the campaign, ensuring that law and order is maintained and not unnecessarily imposing any restriction on the movement of those who have been authorized to do so and to promptly support any incident that may require their attention. Thus far, the reports coming in are encouraging and it is expected that the peace and calm that followed the President’s admonition to the nation will be secured throughout this time of reflection.