Amadu Femoh Sesay-PRO :
The Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil service Dr. Ernest Sahid Alie Surrur has today 26th August held a meeting with Permanent Secretaries, Director-Generals and Directors from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the Civil Service Training College, Tower in Hill Freetown, with a view to brainstorming in order to give more support to and seriously take forward the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.
Dr. Surrur said the virus is ravaging and stigmatizing Sierra Leone noting that some foreign nationals are leaving the country because of the disease. He condemned the policy decisions taken by other friendly countries to ban landing of planes to Sierra Leone or entry of Sierra Leoneans into their countries as misplaced and ill- advised. The Head of Civil service said that the leadership of such countries adopted a panic-stricken attitude instead of rational or strategic approach to what can be described as a common problem ignoring advices of professional bodies and organizations such as World Health Organization
He said that Sierra Leoneans did not manufacture the Ebola virus and should not be punished or stigmatized for something that is not of their making. The Head of Civil Service said the International Organizations such as ECOWAS, AU, MRU, UN etc have a role to play to referee the behavior of countries that contravenes international norms, practices and manage expectations in solving international problems.
He advised that there was no reason for people to panic because the Ebola Disease is a “very weak Virus” which can be controlled at the early stage stating that there is an increased chance of surviving the virus if cases are referred to hospitals very early in the day.
The Secretary to the Cabinet thanked Civil Servants especially medical staff who have been and are still at the fore-front of the battle and contributing their lives, time and skills among others to wipe off the Ebola Virus in the country. A minute silence prayers for the repose of their souls was observed.
He disclosed that many Civil Servants have fallen victims of the menace. “As Public Servants we are open to the infestation and care must be taken to protect our lives by the appropriate behaviour. Take care of your toilets and put chlorine buckets in your offices for people to wash their hands before commencing activities” he advised
Dr. Ernest Surrur observed that Ebola does not accommodate mistakes observing that any mistake can cost lives and warned the gathering to adjust their behaviour in accordance with advices from health professionals.
The Head of the Civil Service said there was need for MDAs to educate their staff in order to protect and prevent themselves from the Virus to continue serving the nation and the world.
The Chief Nursing Officer Hassinatu Kanu said the Ebola Virus Disease is real, unfriendly and is a disease of contact. She said from the result of 25th August, the cases are on the rise. The Chief Nursing Officer reiterated that there was need for people to follow health advice coming from professionals. She said hand washing is the most effective to clean off bacteria/virus.
Making contributions, the Assistant to the Cabinet Secretary Bockarie Momoh Foh said it was a must that the Civil Service contributes financially to the fight against the Virus. He recommended that the leadership of the Service should contact the Accountant General to deduct a percentage of the salaries of Civil Servants at the end of September as contribution to the Ebola fund.
Meaningful contributions were also made by the Permanent Secretaries of Agriculture, Social Welfare, Labour, the Chief Education Officer and the Chief Agriculture Officer.
It was unanimously agreed by all that MDAs must be provided with some infrared thermometers to test temperatures of people coming in to their offices; MDAs to compile and submit a list of non-essential staff to the office of the Head of the Civil Service for consideration to send them on leave as a way to reduce crowd in offices; Civil Servants to contribute a percentage of their September salaries to be deducted from source by the Accountant General for the fight against the Ebola Virus and MDAs to increase hygiene in their offices/homes.