Via Sierra Express Media, an article by Rashid Dumbuya, a Sierra Leone-born lawyer currently in Scotland: Sierra Leoneans must take precaution – Ebola virus is on the move! Excerpt:
There has been an alleged outbreak of the deadly disease called Ebola in neighbouring Guinea-Conakry and chances are it is likely to spread in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Mali, four countries that share borders with Guinea-Conakry.
But among the four countries, Sierra Leone is more threatened because the outbreak occurred in South-Western Guinea which is in close proximity to Sierra Leone’s Kambia district in the Northern Province.
About 70 people have already died in Guinea from the outbreak and more are in critical condition, according to reports.
Sierra Leone, like Guinea, does not have the infrastructure and resources to combat serious outbreak of this nature since it relies heavily on international support even for its basic health needs.
It is not known whether the Sierra Leone government has already taken precautionary measures to stop the disease from entering Sierra Leone like screening travellers from Guinea and mounting up sensitization campaigns around the neighbouring towns close to the Guinean border.
Because hundreds of traders travel to and from Guinea from Sierra Leone on a daily basis, I therefore call on the Government of Sierra Leone to consider the following recommendations without any delay.
1) Mount up serious check points close to the Guinean border and do proper screening of people coming in from that part of the country.
2) The ministry of Health should embark on a mass sensitization campaign both in the electronic and print media especially to the neighbouring communities close to the Guinean nation for them to exercise the utmost precaution and hygiene during this trying period.
3) Every Sierra Leonean should be conscious of what they eat and who they shake hands with at this crucial period.
4) Make shift temporary health units and centres should be set up at the border areas close to Guinea as an emergency response strategy should in case the worse happens.
5) Sierra Leone health officials should immediately travel to Guinea to observe how their Guinean counterparts are handling the situation and learn from them in case Sierra Leone is hit by the disease, which is not a remote possibility.