November 7! A day of reflection
By Jonathan Abass Kamara
The upsurge in the March 23, 1991 Revolutionary United Front (RUF) Foday Sankoh led rebel war claimed the lives of all walks of life including the young, the aged and even babies yet unborn. Pregnant women unborn babies were ripped off their womb, people indiscriminately killed, houses irrationally burnt down and most inhumanly matched the limbs and hands of innocent civilians.
Almost 11 years of bitter war which ravaged not only the country’s economy but the lives of potential people also destroyed infrastructural development and the future of economic emancipation.
The Ebola outbreak in a similar vein destroyed our fast growing economy, killed indiscriminately young and old, and even those health workers referred to as the warriors against the disease painfully lost their lives. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians to name a few lost their lives in the event of trying to save life. This was due to the fact that the disease was new, infection, prevention control was not practically demonstrated in health facilities as well as in some Holding and Treating Centres until of late when health professionals realized that part of the Ebola tragedy was as a result of ignorance on the strength of infection prevention and control that led to the deaths of many.
There was and there is a huge brain drain in the medical profession for health specialists when the Ebola tragedy untimely sent specialists like doctors Modupeh Cole, Khan, George, Buck, Salia and Rogers to name a few to their graves. As we remember them at this time of rebuilding a resilient health system for our country, so also we are to similarly reflect our minds to those widows, widowers, orphans and other health workers who survived the disease. May the souls of the departed and the blessing of the Almighty guide, protect, and provide adequately for their survival.
The Ebola came like an hurricane, gone like a quick sand we hope to see it no more, just as we register our hopes and despair for peace at the Lome Peace Accord and waved our hands together with little Memunatu and say let peace reign forever, and peace was restored with the trumpet of peace for war, leaving the RUF buried with the passion of peace and tranquility for all Sierra Leoneans to live with joy, comfort and happiness.
November 7, 2015 at the Bintumani Hotel Aberdeen in Freetown, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Anders Nordstrom declared the end of the Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The first case was recorded on May 24, 2014, a total number of 8,704 people were infected and 3,589 died. From those who tragically lost their lives, 221 of them were health workers. We remember them all on Monday November 7, 2016, and should continue to remember them.
As a nation we should remember those words by the WHO Representative that, “the world had never faced an Ebola outbreak of such scale and magnitude and the world has neither seen a nation mobilizing its people and resources as Sierra Leone did.
We should also continue to join WHO in commending the Ernest Bai Koroma led government for the effective response that was initiated to manage the outbreak. The use of rapid response teams and strong community engagement to identify new cases early and quickly to stop any Ebola virus transmission should continue to be the cornerstone of the national response strategy.
We should remember as a nation that the Ebola outbreak decimated families, the health system, the economy and social structures. And that we all need to recover and heal Mama Salone.