Northern Bureau Chief
The need for a Regional Approach to end the Ebola Fight is one of the key messages of President Ernest Bai Koroma to the People of Port Loko during his most recent Social mobilisation visits to the District. The President was in the District Headquarter of Port Loko to thank all those that have contributed to what can now be referred as the apparent victory over the dreadful Ebola disease. Appealing for compliance to the Ebola Bye Laws, cautioning against complacency, warning against stigmatisation and drumming support for the Ebola Survivors, were some of the other themes the President based his address.
It is an enviable fact that most of the 14 Districts have gone beyond 100 days with no new Ebola case and that the Nation is now entering the last lap of the 42 days slated by the World Health Organisation for the Country to be declared Ebola Free. President Koroma therefore thought it wise to once again go on his usual tours of the Country not only to commend people for the good work done, but to as well caution them against all forms of complacence. He said in Port Loko that people should not be carried away by the gains so far made in containing the spread of the virus, but must as well ensure that they continue the good hard work until the virus is completely eradicated form the Sub Region.
The President noted that the virus has adopted a new dimension citing the unfortunate occurrences in Kambia and Bombali where Survivors are accused to be the problem. He said there are about Four Thousand and Fifty One Survivors in the Country and that the District of Port Loko has about Seven Hundred and Sixty –Three Survivors. Three Hundred and Seventeen of these are Men while the remaining Four Hundred and Forty- Six are Women. He went on to describe them as Heroes and Heroines in spite of the series of misconceptions others are attributed to them. He said these misconceptions came as a result of the limited knowledge the Nation has about the disease. President Koroma informed the gathering about the Project Shield -which he has already launched in Freetown with the ultimate aim of bringing all Survivors together for effective monitoring. He said each and every one of them will be provided with Free Medical Treatment plus other packages to help them live a normal life. President Koroma further stressed the need for people to comply with the Bye Laws and encouraged them to make proper use of the 117, adding that the Country is still in a State of Emergency.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Minister of Information and Communications- Hon. Alpha Kanu who chaired the meeting praised the untiring efforts of President Koroma for braving it even at the time when the International Body was slow in intervening. He expressed delight and profound appreciation to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre [NERC] who authored a letter of commendation to the Port Loko District Ebola Response Centre [DERC] for the remarkable gains so far made over the virus.
The President and his entourage were welcomed to the District by the Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs- Pc Alhajie Kompa Bomboli of Koya Chiefdom. He said they were relieved by the pleasant looks of the President compared to the previous trips which he said, were very much devastating. In his contribution, the DERC Coordinator- Hon. Raymond Kabia informed the President that Port Loko was now in the threshold of 100 days without any Ebola case .He said this would not have been achieved without the exemplary courage, endurance, dedication and foresightedness displayed by President Koroma alongside his International and Development Partners. He however made reference to the predictions of Dr., Bruce of the World Health Organisation which says Port Loko is at a very high risk if the virus is to resurface. Thus he stressed the need for vigilance until the country is declared Ebola Free.
Serry Bangura is one of the Survivors of Ebola in the District. On behalf of his colleagues, he thanked all those that contributed in helping them to regain their lives. He assured that they will comply with the prescribed laws and will not be a source of infection to others in their respective communities. The vote of thanks was moved by the Port Loko District Council Chairman- Ahmid Munirr Fofana. Below are a few Photos to help you see how it went out there in Port Loko…..