The Director of Prisons, Sampha Bilo Kamara has said that no Ebola case has been reported in all Prisons across the country and advocated for urgent Personal Protective Equipment and training of their medical staff in handling Inn-mates and new cases from daily court sittings.
Expressing the concerns of the Republic of Sierra Leone Prisons Service on the outbreak at a meeting held with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at Youyi Building in Freetown, the Director of Prisons, Sampha Bilo Kamara said their response to the outbreak was prompt, and modalities were put in place for all Prisons across the country. He said the Ministry had assisted them to advance some preventive measures, but that more assistance is needed to address the over 3,500 inn-mates countrywide.
Director Kamara described the inn-mates as vulnerable and the new cases from the courts as a threat, adding that the daily turnover from the courts about 100 is a growing concern. He observed that most of these cases are without proper destination and movements questionable and prone to the risk of contracting the disease.
The Medical Superintendent In-Charge, Sierra Leone Prisons service, Dr. Ibrahim Huballah, reiterated their commitment to ensure that the deadly Ebola virus is contained, adding that as an institution they are very much concern with the protection of the huge number of inn-mates and the in-coming ones.
He said they have formed a Task Force within the Prisons, identified an isolation unit, and appealed for the supply of adequate protective gears and training for their staff. The Director, Technical and Industries, Cecilia Kaikai, said they have been very pro-active since the outbreak but that the lives of inn-mates and officers are at stake noting that officers have to inspect and touch at the very moment of admission into the prisons.
She expressed the need for the frequent fumigation of the main Prison gates, and requested the provision of thermometers and training of trainers workshop for staff of the Prisons.
Responding Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah commended the Management of the Prisons for the move taken to urgently address the risk factors noting that the population of 3,500 inn-mates is not a small number, and one infected person is a risk factor, and a concern for a nation.
He disclosed the arrival of Chinese Medical Experts and Medical Aids from China, and disclosed plans for the team to train Sierra Leonean medical staff on Thursday August 14, 2014 in Freetown where the Prison would benefit. He said the three Chinese Specialists from the Centre of Disease Control as part of their mission would articulate positive actions in the fight against the spread of the disease.
Dr. Fofanah reiterated government’s commitment to contain the disease and appealed to every Sierra Leonean to forge ahead with President Koroma’s clarion call for all to be involved in the fight against the outbreak, assuming the Director and team that their request would be given its due consideration.
Other speakers include the Chief Nursing Officer, Matron Hossinatu Kanu, and the Deputy Director of Drugs and Medical Supplies, Mr. Michael Jack Lansana