BY KABS KANU :
Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Ebun Strasser-King, last week visited the U.S. Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.
The purpose of the DFM’s trip was to thank the CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden for what the the United States Government and the CDC are doing for Sierra Leone and to present him Ebola posters for the CDC Museum. The visit was facilitated and scheduled by the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone.
During the fruitful visit, Dr. Strasser-King told COCORIOKO that the CDC provided very useful advice that would help Sierra Leone contain and defeat the Ebola virus.
DR. STRASSER-KING AND DR. FRIEDEN DISPLAYING THE EBOLA POSTERS
The first advice was that the important thing with Ebola was safe care until treatment centres were constructed . In this regard, he advised strict adherence to protocols and precautions against infection by the virus . Secondly, the CDC advised that Sierra Leone build community care centres in all districts so that treatment centres will be within the reach of potential ebola patients. Thirdly, she and the CDC agreed that the Ebola vaccines were the most effective method in controlling and eradicating Ebola.
The CDC has started a study on the issue of Ebola vaccines that will be open and transparent. The CDC said that a vaccine will be available in a few months .They will be producing 3, 700 vaccines which will be available to health care staff. The CDC was hopeful that West Africa will begin to see the containment of Ebola by the end of the year.
DR. STRASSER-KING AND DR. FRIEDEN
Dr. Strasser-King said that the most important thing was that the CDC was helping to rebuild the health care system to ensure that Sierra Leone had a more efficient health care system to confront future serious outbreaks of diseases like Ebola. The CDC also plans to open a Country office in Sierra Leone which will help in the process of rebuilding this health care system.
Dr. Frieden further advised that it was high time attention was paid to public health. This is the underlying reason that the CDC is helping Sierra Leone rebuild every aspect of her public health system–laboratory, infection control and treatment. A CDC team has already left for Sierra Leone to do a study on these projects.
DR. STRASSER-KING AND HER DAUGHTER DR. FATU FORNA
It must be recalled that Dr. Frieden visited Sierra Leone on a three-nation Ebola tour that took him also to Liberia and Guinea . He visited Sierra Leone on August 9 , after seeing the devastation caused by the EVD in Liberia. The CDC Director at the time also advised the Sierra Leone Government about measures to take to contain the Ebola virus. He was instrumental in creating government awareness of the devastating effect of Ebola and that was one of the reasons that the Deputy Foreign Minister went to the CDC to thank him.
Deputy Minister Dr. Strasser-King was accompanied to the CDC by her daughter, Dr. Fatu Forna , a gynecologist and her son-in-law , Dr. Sheku Sesay . Both of them are also epidemiologists and so they accompanied the Minister to discuss public health in Sierra Leone. with the CDC , for whom Dr. Forna once worked. Dr. Forna and husband live in Atlanta, Georgia and run a foundation called MAMY EN PIKIN.