By State House Communications Unit :
As government continues to roll out its new approach in combating the spreading Ebola virus, President Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday 4th November admonished Members of Parliament, councilors, the Mayor of Freetown, Tribal heads and religious leaders to intensify efforts to break the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus disease (EVD). This admonition was a follow up on similar engagement with traditional and religious leaders in the northern, southern and eastern provinces where the president urged all and sundry to redouble efforts as the fight against Ebola takes a new phase.
President Koroma urged all Sierra Leoneans to step up efforts and take responsibility saying that this is the only way we can defeat Ebola. He went on to state that citizens, especially religious and traditional leaders should apply the needed leadership and collaboratively engage the grassroots to eradicate Ebola. He pointed out the need to mobilize the youth and use the community people to act as contact tracers, surveillance officers, social mobilizers with the commitment and seriousness it deserves. “We have protracted the fight so long, the facilities are here now. There should be no new transmission,” he warned. The Commander-in-Chief further urged all Councilors and Parliamentarians in the western area to use the grassroots network and challenge themselves to contain the disease as soon as possible. He called on all to desist from practices like secret family burials, touching the sick, washing of corpses and put a hold on traditional practices and stop doing the things that will expose them to further infection.
The president stated that even though “we are not entering into a military regime”, he reiterated the need to adopt a robust military approach as the new approach in tackling Ebola. He urged all the authorities present to adopt the new approach as government will continue to deploy both military and police personnel across the country. “We won’t compromise with anybody. We have to take the sick out and take the responsibility with firmness. We must end Ebola now,” he said amid rapturous applause.
President Koroma further noted the transformation process that the country was busy doing when Ebola struck. He stated that the country was among the top ten fastest reformers and attracted a lot of foreign direct investment. “We don’t want to make Sierra Leone a UN field; we want to engage people on development issues and repositioned ourselves to where we were as soon as possible,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the president also conducted an inspection tour of the three day training exercise by the British Army, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at the Siaka Stevens Stadium on steps and precautions of putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPEs) to ensure that no protocols are breached. The training will also involve training of trainers that will be taught teaching skills that will enable them to deliver the lessons learnt in a structured fashion. The Medical Support Officer Victoria Philips said the training was a systematic module that will produce potential trainers that would further increase the number of people trained to enable the health workers to move ahead of the virus. She also led the president to the process of removing the PPEs and decontamination.
President Koroma also made a spot check at Connaught Hospital and inspected land earmarked for the extension of the Hospital. The proposed hospital will include extension of wards, cancer section, pathology and an administrative building. After inspecting the site, he stated clearly the need to free off Connaught Hospital of Ebola activities, especially now that treatment centers are being constructed across the country.