Press briefing from Presidential Task Force Media Communications Committee

PRESS BRIEFING
Office of the Chairman
Presidential Taskforce Media Communications Committee
State House

We regret to announce the death of Dr. Olivet Buck. Dr. Buck was the
Medical Superintendent attached to the Lumley Government hospital in
Western Urban Freetown. She is the fourth doctor we have lost in the
line of duty to the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD). Like any dedicated
doctor to the profession and like any mother, Dr. Buck treated a
little boy in the Lumley government hospital who turned out to be
Ebola positive from whom she contracted the disease.

DR OLIVETTE BUCK

 

Like late Dr. Khan, the Government of Sierra Leone did everything
possible including a plan to evacuate Dr. Buck to Germany to save the
life of this heroine. That plan was hinged upon international
bureaucracy and procedures beyond our control. In both cases, we have
observed a sluggish willingness by WHO in facilitating medical
evacuation of Sierra Leonean Ebola infected doctors for advance
treatment abroad. We lost both Dr Khan and Dr. Buck hung in
negotiations.

On the preparedness for the three days ‘ose-to-ose Ebola talk’, the
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in collaboration with its partners
has completed the training of the national supervisors for the three
days. Training of the district supervisors has commenced and will be
completed today. Cascading training of national and district
supervisors to the bulk of the 21,000 volunteers will start on Tuesday
at local levels.

Government has projected a 15-20 per cent surge in the EVD suspected
cases from communities across the country during the ‘ose-to-ose Ebola
talk’. In response, the EOC has expanded the number of holding centres
and trained more staff to man them as well as increased logistical
support at districts level to enable local authorities to adequately
respond to the anticipated spike in EVD suspected cases.

There is an increased level of compliance with Government policy to
report all cases of deaths for certification before burial thus the
increased demand on the burial teams to respond to dead bodies. In
response, Government has increased the number of burial teams in
Freetown to nine from four. The burial team coordinator has trained 26
dispatch riders to respond and collect samples from bodies for
same-day testing and provided eighteen burial vehicles to the Western
Area teams, where the demand for burial is most prevalent. Separate
numbers [+23279557733 and +23299671521] have been created specifically
to respond to burial calls. The numbers of burial teams have been
increased across the country to meet nationwide burial demands.

In response to the overall anticipated increase in suspected cases
after the ‘ose-to-ose Ebola talk’ exercise, Government has brokered
bilateral cooperation with the Chinese, the Russians and the Cubans
who would be manning holding and treatment centres across the country.

Government also wishes to inform the public that the Aljazeera article
by Ashley Hamer publish on the 13th of September, 2014 that “Ebola
support staff are supposed to be paid 500.000SLL ($110) per week but
have been working for free in Kenema for the past two weeks” is a
blatant lie and an unfounded assertion to foster sensation and yellow
journalism. The nurses are paid their normal salaries; we concede
delay in timely payment of incentives because of bureaucracy and
tardiness by some Ministry staff members who are responsible to
prepare payment vouchers. Funds have been disbursed for the payments
of all incentives. We take great exception to the statement that the
nurses are “working for free”. It is farfetched and is not helping the
already gloomy situation here in Sierra Leone.

We hereby encourage all health care workers to continue their
courageous and patriotic service to the people of Sierra Leone.
Government has improved on and scaled up on the logistical flow and
supply chain of protective gears to health care workers as well as the
payments of incentives. Please be very careful in carrying out this
Godly service on behalf of your country. Your service to Sierra Leone
is priceless.
I thank you all.

Karamoh Kabba
*************************************
Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Government of Sierra Leone

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