Ismail Mahmud Sheriff
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2014
The World Bank and partners are providing funding, logistics and technical support to the three most affected countries. Yet, new infections are doubling, and more people are dying.
The problem is that, “we have still not been able to break the chain of transmission”, a senior government official in Sierra Leone said.
Three key challenges remain; inadequate Logistics, resistance to behavioral change and inadequate technical expertise.
Logistically, health workers still need mobility, among other things to be able to respond effectively.
Contact tracers, surveillance and burial teams are key in breaking the chain of transmission.
If there is a sick or a dead person in a home, but the ambulance or burial team cannot get there in time, it puts family members at serious risk.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 October 2014
As the number of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone is poised to exceed 10,000 by the beginning of next year, there is growing fear that the yet to be constructed holding and treatment centres will be swamped.
Sierra Leone currently has about 300 Ebola holding and treatment beds. Immediate demand is estimated at 3,000 beds.
The planned completion of four newly built regional centres by the British before February 2015, is expected to bring into deployment 750 additional beds in the country – 2,250 short of the estimated 3,000 new beds needed to cope with the crisis today.
But the arrival of about 400 British troops in Sierra Leone, so far is making a huge difference to the population’s sense of hope of any chance of Ebola being defeated.
The battle may have started, but the real war on Ebola is yet to begin.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 October 2014
British Overseas Development Secretary – Justine Greening, has today arrived in Sierra Leone along with one hundred soldiers to speed up efforts in setting up treatment centres and make hundreds of beds available for Ebola victims.
Today’s arrival is in addition to the 300 soldiers that are already in Sierra Leone, as part of the British government’s commitment to spend £125 million in combating Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The UK support for Sierra Leone is the second largest governmental assistance given by any country to the Ebola affected West African countries, after the USA.
And by the end of the year, there will be a total of 750 British soldiers in Sierra Leone fighting the ebola virus across the country, as Britain once again step up to the plate when it matters most, saving lives in the former British colony.
With more than 3,000 people now infected by the virus, and over 1,000 dead, serious questions are being asked about the government’s honesty in reporting the seriousness of the Ebola crisis, and its commitment in bringing the humanitarian disaster to an end.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 October 2014
The Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone would have been a great script for a television series – aptly named a “Comedy of Errors”, had the situation not been so serious.
What is certain is that this government of Ernest Bai Koroma, has already left a legacy that is going to make the name of our country synonymous with the dirty word -EBOLA.
Already, Sierra Leoneans living abroad have started experiencing the stigma of this disease, as far removed as we are from the epicentre.
There are several reports of Sierra Leoneans around the globe, experiencing acts of discrimination or going through demeaning treatments, simply because of the government’s inability to provide basic amenities for its own people and uplift them from filth and poverty.
And, the less said about the management of this Ebola Virus in our country the better.
Almost everyone now, agrees that had it not been for the incompetence of this APC government, our people would not have been dying in their thousands.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 October 2014
Last Friday’s Ebola restructuring news from State House coincided with depressing reports from Waterloo in the east of the capital Freetown: “Dead bodies are lying all over the place unburied, with the death rate now averaging twenty a day and hundreds of sick people locked up in their homes without medical care.
“The burial teams are overwhelmed and overworked. The deaths go as far afield as Newton and Tombo – with reports of mass deaths daily. The stench of dead bodies covers most places now in and around waterloo.”
Also today, 19th October, there were reports of “local youths in Portee in the eastern district of Freetown, blockading the main Portee junction with tyres, stones and sticks on the grounds that two corpses have been abandoned in their community, despite several requests to have them removed by the authorities.”
In the wake of the sacking of the health minister – Miatta Kargbo last August, the Sierra Leone Telegraph commented: “Whilst the sacking of the health minister is to be welcomed, it is obvious now that the lack of leadership is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The restructuring of the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Freetown and the expansion of the Ebola ministerial committee will do very little in solving the complex organisational and multi-faceted issues that are emerging, across every district in the country. Something fundamental has to change.”
Is another lockdown on the horizon in Sierra Leone?
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 October 2014
As Sierra Leone records its landmark 3,000 Ebola victims, and Liberia clocking up a greater number of confirmed cases, Ebola is far from being controlled.
Yet, already the recriminations and finger pointing on the global stage have started, as the number of people that have died from the virus in West Africa exceeds 5,000.
Former Ghanaian born UN Chief – Kofi Annan pulls no punches. He lays the blame for the exponential rise in Ebola right on the doorsteps of the very governments, whose countries are being ravaged by the virus – Liberia and Sierra Leone. But he did not spare the international community either.
“The African countries in the region could have done a bit more. They could have asked for help much faster, and the international community could have organised ourselves in a much better way to offer assistance. We didn’t need to take months to do what we are doing today,” said Annan last week.
But such outpouring of frustration is not new. In Sierra Leone, critics have accused the Koroma government of negligence, incompetence and at best too slow in responding to the outbreak.
Is Koroma’s Ebola strategy going off the rails?