Ebola – president Koroma speaks to the nation

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 July 2014

President Koroma 2014If ever there was a time for president Koroma to demonstrate that he is truly a president of all of Sierra Leone, and a leader that listens to the voice of reasoning, it is now.

Last night, the president addressed the people of Sierra Leone and the world at large, after mounting criticisms about his personal handling of the Ebola tragedy, and the serious lapses of his government in managing its own strategy designed to combat the disease.

With over 500 people now officially diagnosed with the virus and more than 200 dead and the number rising, the president has to change his Ebola management strategy, as well as give more impetus and clear direction to the fight against the disease.

The call for change in strategy has come largely from non-government sponsored media, including the global Times and the Sierra Leone Telegraph, who have continuously advised the president to up his game.

The president has spoken.

Continue reading

President Koroma officially declares Dr. Khan a ‘national hero’

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2014

Dr khanReports from State House in Freetown, say that President Koroma is deeply saddened over the death of Dr. Umar Sheik Khan, who sadly passed away yesterday, after contracting the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr. Khan was responsible for taking care of those who had fallen victim to the disease, but was himself unable to prevent the virus from taking his own life.

He gave up his right to life so that others may live. In a press statement released today by State House, the government officially announced the death of Dr. Khan. This is what it says:

Continue reading

Ebola – statement by Sierra Leone ministry of political and public affairs

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2014

President Koroma - June 2014The objective of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs is to develop policies and Programmes geared towards promoting democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone.

Notably, the Ebola outbreak has been widely politicized, which may hinder the work of health workers with the potential to pose a threat to our democracy and good governance system.

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone is not only a health care issue; it is a matter of public concern.

And this has been demonstrated at the highest level early this month, when the President – Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma declared a war on Ebola.

The Ministry of Political and Public Affairs hereby presents the following positions, aimed at continuing its efforts in seeking citizenry cooperation, and in mitigating negative perception and political undertones that are notable in this new kind of war, all geared towards complementing the ongoing efforts of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its partners in the effective management of the Ebola epidemic and efficient service delivery to Ebola victims:

Continue reading

Sierra Leone mourns the death of Ebola specialist

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 July 2014 

Dr khan funeralThe people of Sierra Leone are tonight consumed by fear, shock and grief, as Dr. Umar Khan – the country’s only virologist specialising in treating those suffering from the Ebola virus, passed away this evening in Kailahun – the epicentre of the disease.

Dr. Khan aged 39, was diagnosed with the virus, just a few days ago and was quarantined at a health centre run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Kailahun.

News of his death came soon after the ministry of health published its latest update on the state of Ebola in the country, which according to conservative ministerial estimate, has now taken the life of 159 people, out of the laboratory confirmed cases of 489.

But the unofficial number of Ebola deaths in Sierra Leone is believed to have exceeded 250, including 40 health workers and education staff.

It is understood that many muslims in Freetown, conducted their Eid prayers at home on Monday and Tuesday, rather than risk catching the virus from the congregation. This is very serious indeed.

Continue reading

Vice president Sumana continues to be marginalised in the face of Ebola

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 July 2014 

Sam SumanaThe fight against the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is everyone’s fight.

And when news broke several months ago of the deadly virus, found in neighbouring Guinea, Sierra Leone’s vice president Sumana was hard at work trying to help mobilise the country.

And as Chairman of the National Platform for Disaster Management, he actively convened meetings with stakeholders to formulate a plan of action, which could have helped prevented Sierra Leone succumbing to the deadly virus from Guinea.

But alas, alas, president Koroma could not resist once again, the temptation of standing on his vice president’s shadow, as Sam Sumana continues to struggle to make a positive impact on the office of vice presidency, since his appointment in 2007.

Even as Ebola was knocking on the nation’s door, Koroma saw it fit to steal Sam Sumana’s thunder, lest the vice president could emerge popular, should he succeed in mobilising the country against Ebola. What a shame.

Speaking to Global Times at his office in Freetown, this is what the vice president told the editor: “Despite those initial efforts, the responsibility of the National Platform for Disaster Management was removed from my office to the Office of the President, for reasons I don’t know.”

Continue reading

Ebola crisis – a $14 million funding gap – our nation needs our help

Anthony Kamara Jr

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 July 2014

ebola centre sierra leoneThe news that Sierra Leone, like other countries in the sub-region, has been hit by the Ebola disease is no longer a secret.

If anything, I had assumed that the disease could easily be contained and our health authorities have the resources and expertise needed to contain it.

In fact, I was wrong! I was completely wrong after I began to understand the severity of the disease and its consequences.

Given the number of confirmed deaths in the country and reports that the only Sierra Leonean doctor in Kenema with the requisite expertise  that the country  has known and  has led the fight to defeat Ebola, has himself  fallen victim to the disease, it is clear all hands are needed to avoid exacerbating the already ugly situation.

Continue reading

So called female genital mutilation (FGM) – the continuing vuvuzela

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 July 2014

londonSome years ago, I read a humorous story in a British newspaper about a New Zealander who had lived in Britain for many years, who then suddenly decided to return home.

When asked about his reason for leaving an adopted country that he confessed to have come to love, his answer was simple: “When I arrived here some years back, homosexual act was a criminal offense that carried a jail sentence. Then the government set up the Wolfenden Commission to look into prostitution and other social offenses. The government accepted the Commission’s recommendation that homosexual act between consenting adults must no longer be a crime.”

He said he was now leaving Britain, before a law came into force, which would make homosexual act compulsory.

We may laugh at the humour, but the West has gone a very long way in encouraging something which, even the Holy Bible condemns as an unnatural act.

Continue reading

Nigeria – Africa’s strongest economy poised to become a major global force

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 July 2014

Nigeria infrastructureHaving recently been declared the strongest economy on the African continent, Nigeria is now said to have the potential to become a major global economic force in the coming decades, says a report published today by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).

Notwithstanding the challenges that Nigeria faces, especially terrorism and its ongoing struggle with poverty, this latest report finds that Nigeria has the potential to expand its economy – year on year, by roughly 7.1 percent for the next sixteen years.

However, there is another side to the Nigeria story that has been overshadowed – both by the recent headlines and the persistence of outdated beliefs and assumptions about Nigeria’s economy.

The report published by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and McKinsey’s Nigeria office, titled: ‘Nigeria’s renewal: Delivering inclusive growth in Africa’s largest economy’, examines the country’s economic potential.

It finds that with the right reforms and investments, Nigeria can become one of the world’s leading economies by 2030.

Continue reading