“Convert air- conditioned hotels into temporary Ebola Treatment Centres” – says Chris Brown   

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 August 2014

president koroma end of the road - 220513President Koroma’s decision to sack the health minister and have her replaced by her deputy, as well as the reorganisation of the various committees and quangos that are dabbling with the Ebola virus, amid the unfolding tragedy in Sierra Leone, have sparked a serious debate about the effectiveness and wisdom of those decisions. (Photo: President Koroma).

Whilst the proposals and recommendations that have been put forward to the president for his immediate attention and implementation may be diverse, yet there is now a general consensus. They all agree on one fundamental principle:

There has to be a revolutionary change in the approach, organisation and management of the crisis.

And the central theme of those recommendations is that president Koroma and his ministers, must now ask the WHO to take full responsibility for the management and delivery of all actions and measures relating to combating the Ebola crisis.

This is what Chris Brown – the co-founder of London Mining is proposing for the good of the nation:

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The bitter Ebola pill president Koroma must now swallow

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 August 2014

The latest unconfirmed report of the death of another Sierra Leonean doctor in Kenema; and health workers going on strike, due to lack of pay and unavailability of protective wear; and stories of a body found lying early this week on a street in the Western area of Freetown; as well as the number of confirmed Ebola cases in the last two days estimated at 40, sadly suggest that the government is still struggling to get on top of this crisis.

Whilst the sacking of the health minister is welcomed, it is obvious now that lack of leadership is just the tip of the iceberg.

The ever increasing problem of logistics, transportation, contact tracing, tracking of suspected cases, feeding of those quarantined – suspected of ebola or otherwise, and the difficulties of managing the isolation and treatment centres, are now becoming a nightmare for the government.

Yesterday’s 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, except Koinadugu.

Something fundamental has to change. WHO must now be given full and unfettered responsibility for managing the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, as part of an overall West Africa Strategy.
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Health minister Miatta Kargbo sacked

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2014

Miatta Kargbo - health minnsterSierra Leone’s beleaguered health minister – Miatta Kargbo, has this evening been relieved of her ministerial post, after months of dithering by president Koroma.

As the number of Ebola cases rose sharply in Sierra Leone in the last few weeks, so too had Miatta’s position became untenable.

It was not a matter of whether she was going to be replaced, but when. And it seems today’s meeting at State House, between president Koroma and the Director of the American Centre for Disease Control – Tom Frieden, would have pointed the mind of president Koroma to seriously consider the minister’s position.

Both president Koroma and Mr. Frieden discussed the Ebola crisis, and came to the conclusion that leadership for managing the crisis must come from the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre in Freetown, which according to today’s announcement by the president will now be co-ordinated by Steven Gaojia.

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Ebola – vultures and carcasses in the den

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 August 2014

Dr khan funeralThe Ebola epidemic is an issue about which it is difficult to speak and impossible to be silent.

While any criticism of the government now will be automatically seen by advocates as insensitive and, or with ‘political’ undertone, there is no need dressing something up nicely when it is not.

Neither can we continue to pretentiously ignore the reality of our embarrassing socio-economic and political situation, like some fart in an elevator.

However, because as sure as night follows the day, it is a no-brainer that once the red flag is down, we’ll all return to our old, selfish ways. We’ll continue to whistle in our tornado, fooling ourselves that we are making music.

Instead of the old things being passed away and us becoming a new creation, the web of paranoia and prickliness in the uppermost echelon of government, which sees any filleting of its day-to-day running of events, as a conspiracy theory, will simply acquire a new and heightened toga.

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Maada Bio launches Trust Fund for the caring of ebola orphans

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 August 2014

Bio launch Ebola fund4Today, 27th August, saw the launch of the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation and Education Support Fund for Ebola Orphans in Sierra Leone, as the total number of confirmed and suspected Ebola deaths exceeds 450.

Speaking at the launching ceremony which took place at the Harry Yassaneh Hall of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s presidential hopeful – Julius Maada Bio said; “As a national leader, it is imperative that I join forces with government and other stakeholders to wage war against this virus.”

Bio also said that “the Fund will provide support for the educational needs of children between 6 and 18 years, whose benefactors have died of the Ebola virus.”

With presidential and general elections more than three years away and the Koroma government in a quandary as to how best to manage this Ebola crisis, is Maada Bio paving the way for a second chance at the polls?

This is what he told a cross-section of his opposition SLPP, members of parliament, civil society groups, and the media:

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Chaos and paralysis hampering the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 August 2014

Ebola isolation ward being set upAs millions of dollars in private donations keep pouring into State House in Freetown, it is becoming more apparent that money may not necessarily solve the Ebola crisis, in an ever increasingly chaotic and uncoordinated environment.

There is serious confusion as to the powers, roles and functions of the plethora of agencies and bodies, who continue to get in each other’s way, as they struggle to tackle the common enemy – Ebola.

The presidential Ebola Task Force established a month ago by president Koroma does not have clear terms of reference. Yet there is the false impression that it is responsible for setting out and coordinating the practical actions, measures and rules of engagement for all the Ebola agencies – including the ministry of health.

The ministry of health and its beleaguered minister on the other hand, has long lost the confidence of the health workers and doctors.

Since the death of Dr. Khan, Dr. Modupe Cole and the dozens of nurses and ancillary staff, due to the failure of the ministry to behave responsibly towards its employees, there is now deep suspicion about the sincerity and capability of those running the ministry.

As one Sierra Leonean doctor wrote on social media two weeks ago; “We’re asking ourselves what was done for Dr. Cole. Was his treatment just left to MSF? What extra did the SLMDA and MOHS do to make sure we do not lose another doctor? Why should we continue fighting for a people if we’re not sure those that can, would fight for us when we need them? All these questions are being asked by us the junior doctors. We don’t want to be dead heroes today and forgotten heroes tomorrow. Who would take care of our kids or our old parents when we die? We’re feeling now like no one has our backs.”

There is real fear and panic among doctors and nurses in the country.

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Sierra Leonean student hounded and now stranded in Japan

Elias Bangura

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 August 2014

Japan international airport1Philip Abubakarr Kamara is a Sierra Leonean youth, presently stranded at Tokyo International Airport.

He says he wants to return to Sierra Leone, because he has been unjustly thrown out of Tokyo University of Science, where he was studying on a Masters Scholarship program, since 2013.

Philip Kamara said his troubles started when he refused to take part in cult activities at the University, of which one of his lecturers was a key member.

His refusal found him at odds with this particular lecturer, whom Philip subsequently changed for another.

But this decision did not please the lecturer. It provoked other cult members into hounding Philip out of Kuki Campus, Saitama,Tokyo University of Science.

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British Ebola patient flown from Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 August 2014

Ebola - RAF palne at Lungi airportA British aid worker, who has not been named, but believed to have been working in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone, is being flown from Freetown, after contracting the Ebola virus. (Photo: RAF plane arrives at Lungi airport earlier today).

The British Department of Health yesterday confirmed that the British national working in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed as Ebola positive.

According to the British Chief Medical Officer,  there is no risk to the UK of transmission of the Ebola virus.

This is the first case of a British Ebola victim since the outbreak in West Africa early this year, with the number of cases in Sierra Leone now exceeding one thousand, and almost 400 dead.

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Presidential adviser calls for media blitz on Ebola in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 August 2014

The devastating outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone has provoked mixed reactions in and out of the country, most of which criticises the Koroma government as inept, lethargic, corrupt, and lacking in strong leadership.

Several public officials and a handful of senior ministers are still in denial, choosing to propagate the deplorable policy of propaganda and massaging of Ebola statistics, rather than focusing on the real task of saving lives.

But this policy of Ebola propaganda has now led to an international backlash, resulting in the loss of confidence in the government’s reports as well as its efforts in combating the disease. The country’s economy has become the latest Ebola victim.

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Women in Sierra Leone bearing the brunt of Ebola

Zainab Tunkara Clarkson

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 August 2014

Africa progress panel1The marginalisation of women in Sierra Leone generally makes them highly vulnerable in society. And there is plenty of evidence now to suggest that, they are the group most affected by the deadly Ebola virus, sweeping across the West African sub-region.

The Ebola disease has so far claimed the lives of at least 1,229 victims in the mainly affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak first started in neighboring Guinea in February 2014 and extended to Sierra Leone and Liberia, exposing more countries to the risk as it spreads across the region and beyond.

People are dying every day – falling victim to the disease. The fight against Ebola is now beyond the scope of one country, because the virus knows no boundaries, nationalities, or gender.

Hence, no one knows where next the deadly virus could strike. Women, who make up a large part of the population, are now bearing the greatest brunt of the disease.

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