The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone since May 25, 2014 turned around the smiling face of our dynamic President into an unpleasant and non-smiling face as the Ebola figures inconsistently fluctuates with positive cases in Western Urban/Rural and other parts of the country, Especially northern Sierra Leone and Western urban-rural.
During his usual Presidential Social Mobilization tour to the northern districts of Bombali, Kambia, Port Loko and Tonkolili it was clearly reported that because of the unsatisfactory response on Ebola cases in that part of the country, the President respectively made his fourth visits to ensure that situation improves.
All four districts were worried over the countenance of the President, depicting extra ordinary measures for Denial and Non-compliance. Tonkolili had recorded 20 days zero Ebola infection at the height of the Presidential visit which eventually hiccups a smile for Tonkolili, the only meritorious district among the four.
The leadership challenge was for all the four districts to get into zero beginning Monday March 16, 2015 but the Ebola outbreak updates for March 16, 2015 reported three (3) new confirmed cases, all for Port Loko district. Saddening also, and disappointing, Tuesday March 17, 2015 updates revealed 14 cases with Kambia recorded for eight (8) new cases and Port Loko one (1). Tonkolili maintains its zero infection followed by Bombali as of 17th March, 2015.
“Be focused, vigilant and sustain the zero results if you want me to give you a smiling face”. Those were the words of President Koroma when the four districts made commitment that his next visit to the northern districts would be that of celebrations. Without going two steps after that commitment, Port Loko and Kambia have failed the President.
Secret Burials, Harbouring the sick with Traditional Healers and Herbalists, and negative traditional practices including washing the dead and Bondo society activities were all reported during the Presidential visit which clearly demonstrates that the powers given to Paramount Chiefs, Section Chiefs and Tribal Heads have not been implemented within the expected Regulations and Bye-Laws.
A case at Rosanda in the Bombali district of one Abass Koroma from Aberdeen village in Freetown infected 54 people leaving 42 dead. Saddening a pregnant woman was affected and passed on the infection to a nurse and a Porter at the Makeni Government hospital, leaving them dead. This sad episode reveals harbouring the sick, washing the dead; conduct unsafe burial, secret burials and non-compliance with the precautionary measures and key measures by Health Officials to contain the disease.
What would happen to these four northern districts that had made commitment to the President if they all failed the exams and many more questions is my concern. But one thing I remember during the Presidential tour, was that President Koroma warned the Bombali people that if situation not improve, schools would be re-open in the other districts but Bombali schools would remain closed.
From my little town of Mateboi in the Bombali district, I am appealing to Traditional Heads and all stakeholders in the district to help me lift up my shameful bowing head with a banner of sustainable zero infection.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.