By State House Communications Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 15th October received the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. Rajiv Shaw and Norwegian delegation at State House. The delegation is in the country to support the acceleration of the Ebola response and to work on specific points raised during President Koroma’s video conference to the World Bank Breakfast Meeting in America.
President Koroma assured the delegation that Sierra Leone will not export Ebola to any country as the disease is not something anybody wants. He noted that Ebola is a global issue and expressed strong belief that what is needed at this time is to strengthen security measures at the country’s airport.
The president stated that at a critical time like this there is an urgent need for more treatment centers, care centers and the strengthening of social mobilization across the country. He further underscored the importance of increasing the laboratory capacity of the country to reverse the delay and reactions from communities. “We need to ramp up our lab capacity that can handle 500 to 600 samples a day and it requires to be done quicker,” he said. He also pointed out that as a government, it is timely to take a close look at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and restructure it for it to be more effective with the aim to get decisions implemented quickly. “As we work earnestly together to move ahead of the virus, we must quickly harness and step up our efforts to address the challenges in order to break the chain of transmission,” he stressed.
President Koroma observed that it will be of immense help to effectively engage the youth in the various communities together with the local authorities to pass on the appropriate messages to the people. To ease up the pressure, the president stated, family education and person to person messaging must be cascaded to the local level. He also emphasized the need to put on hold certain cultural practices that have been identified as a major means of infection.
The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. Rajiv Shaw said that the team is in the country to discuss specific ideas that have been championed by the country’s approach in the fight against Ebola, citing issues raised by President Koroma during the video conference to the World Bank Breakfast Meeting in America. He quoted President Obama’s statement saying that Ebola is both a threat to national security and global health. With this, he further disclosed that the United States has pledged an additional support of One Hundred and Forty-Two Million ($USD142 Million) United States Dollars to support the acceleration of the fight against Ebola.
The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Mr. Borge Brende said that they are in the country to show solidarity as Ebola is not only an issue of Sierra Leone but also a global issue that requires a global response. He informed President Koroma that additional doctors and nurses will be in the country; provide medical intervention, medical equipment, beds and logistical support and to fully engage the president on how to contain the situation.