By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
We are now about six months old into the fight against Ebola and many of you would say it is pointless for any further form of sensitisation drive. True, we ought to have grown far beyond this level. As was rightly pointed out by President Ernest Bai Koroma himself in his recent tour of the Regions, there has been too much of this and there is hardly any new thing to be said on Ebola rather than to say it is a killer disease which can be easily avoided by refraining from direct body contact especially with sick persons and dead bodies. But how can well -meaning individuals and Organisations stop when most of the efforts seemed to have only landed on deaf ears? Then, why should they stop when the bulk of people have continued to do the wrong things, and when Communities have continued to be consumed by this unforgiveable virus?
The lack of appropriate answer to these questions is what has compelled the Management of the Women’s Centre for Good Governance and Human Rights to once again intervene. It is currently conducting Sensitisation meetings with members on the ‘dos and don’ts’ that will stop the spread of this killer disease. Madam Mary Y. Conteh is the National Coordinator of the Women’s Centre for Good Governance and Human Rights .She said the actual purpose for the formation of this Organisation is to help Women especially those in marginalised settings, to become aware of the right and need to be part of the good governance system. The Organisation also helps them to map out strategies through which they could appreciate the need to actively participate in the governance process.
The National Coordinator said in an interview with the Sierra Leone News Agency [SLENA] that her Organisation has been operating in the Northern District of Port Loko for 3 consecutive years now. She said even though they have been providing Micro Credit facilities and Agricultural inputs to their Members, the key focus is always on Good Governance Education. She said they have however had cause to shift from that tradition in recent times as a result of the threat the Ebola Virus has posed on the People of this country as a whole. She further observed how all the efforts will go in vain if the spread of this virus is not contained and subsequently eradicated from this Country.
Ella Margai is the Field Officer and was in Port Loko to ensure that the Programme is successfully conducted. She said the exercise will be carried out in a total of 5 Locations in the Port Loko District including-Rofainka, Borupe , Masiaka and Port Loko Central. At New Maforki where the Sensitisation started in earnest, Ella Margai informed the gathering about the capability of the Ebola Virus to consume a whole community if appropriate measures were not adopted to put it under proper control. She therefore urged people to refrain from either visiting sick persons or funeral and bereaved homes. Madam Conteh said they should avoid direct body contacts, which she observed, has been the root cause for the spread of the disease in most Communities .She was buttressed by the Port Loko District Field Coordinator- Aruna S Conteh who noted that the virus could be highly aggressive in dead bodies. He therefore advised against the touching of corpses particularly the Ebola related ones. He said sick people should go for treatment instead of staying in their houses as most of those who adhered to such pieces of advice have survived the disease.
According to the National Coordinator, they would provide bags of rice to each of the aforementioned Communities together with Megaphones to enhance the propagation of the Ebola Messages in the various Localities. She had earlier offered a total of 110 Litres of fuel as her Organisation’s humble contribution to the Port Loko District Ebola Response Coordinating Office. Both Councillor Abdul Sinneh Bangura and N’balu Koroma in their separate remarks commended the efforts of Madam Mary Y Conteh in promoting and protecting the interest of Women in the District. Here now are some of the Photos obtained at the New Maforki Sensitisation meeting….