Kailahun, June 30, 2014 (SLENA) - The Government of Sierra Leone as part of its numerous strides to contain the deadly Ebola disease in the country has provided the Kailahun District Health Management team the tune of Le380,000,000 [US$87,500] to support the fight against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Presenting the cheque to the District Medical Officer, Mr. James Square in the Primary Health Care Conference Hall in Kailahun, Health and Sanitation Minister, Miatta Kargbo reiterated government’s commitment to end what she described as another war that needs the support of every Sierra Leonean.
The amount presented, the Minister said meant to give support to intensify sensitization, contact tracing, risk allowance, and the provision of fuel for referrals and surveillance services among other key interventions to enhance effective service delivery.
The Minister in addition, presented a World Food Programme (WFP) truck load of food items which included cereal, soya beans and cooking oil, and other items from the Ministry such as chlorine, personal protective equipment, nap sack sprayers and clothing for hospitalized and discharged survivors.
The Minister, who led a high profiled team of health personnel including the WHO Country Representative, told the meeting that she was overwhelmed and encouraged by the level of tranquility in the district, and the commitment and dedication to service seen by health workers on the ground.
She described the Ebola outbreak in the country as a hurricane of destruction, pointing out that she is optimistic that President Koroma’s commitment to the fight and her team’s mission to Kailahun is the beginning of the end of the Ebola war in Sierra Leone.
Madam Miatta noted the devastating impact of the epidemic but was encouraged by the level of case fatality as compared to other countries. The death rate, she said, still remain a big challenge for the country, and commended her health workers and partners for their invaluable support to contain the disease.
The Minister lamented the unfortunate situation of health workers being attacked whilst trying to save lives, putting theirs at risk, and appealed to the general public to take the situation serious and recognize the sacrificial efforts of health personnel. The outbreak, she said is a threat for the West Africa sub region, adding that it is a national call for action by all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to help contain the disease.
Making his remarks, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Jacob Mufunda told his audience that the fate of the challenges in the outbreak of the disease is in the hands of the District Health Management Teams across the country, and reiterated the firmness and commitment of the UN Agencies’ continued support to accelerate progress in the fight to address the situation.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo noted the growing incidence of case mortality and the efforts of health workers, and commended them for the good work. The Chief Medical Officer also expressed gratitude to MSF for the establishment of the Treatment Centre in Kailahun as well as other partners and stakeholders in the fight to contain the disease.
The MSF Emergency Coordinator, Anja Wolz reaffirmed her organization’s active commitment in the response phase, and on behalf of her team pledged to face the challenges for posterity.
Making their presentation, the District Medical Officer, Dr. James Squire and Mr. James Bangura of the Metabiota USA Research Firm Project, intimated the Minister and team about the proposed cross border MRU Meeting to be held in Kailahun in July 2014 with the participation of Guinea and Liberia, the training of 300 Contact Tracers, formation of committees working assiduously within their comprehensive District Response Plan and the training of 20 volunteers per chiefdom covering the 14 chiefdoms in the district.
Other highlights of the presentation include: case investigation of all alerts and confirmed cases, rumour verification, Resistance of some communities, Progress in house to house sensitization, installed 94 beds for transit, confirmed and probable cases, and the challenges faced for additional staff. In a related development, the Minister met with staff of the Kailahun Government Hospital and lauded them for holding the fort though under difficult circumstances.