From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

How Fine really was Sierra Leone Health Minister in Tackling Health Issues?
By Awareness Times
Sep 3, 2012, 12:17

It is still not quite clear just how fine Sierra Leoneís out-gone Health Minister has been at her job. As published last week, under her leadership, the Health Ministry deliberately suppressed the news of the extent of the Cholera Outbreak in the country for reasons which are still unclear. The case of poor Kenema district being mis-labelled as being Cholera-free by both the Health Minister and her team is one strong piece of evidence that will show how fine she really was whilst in office.


Awareness Times is today reproducing a commentary we first ran in March this year. It is a fact that despite the alarms we raised back then for a more proactive response to the crisis in Pujehun, absolutely nothing was done by the Health Ministry. Following that March article, the symptoms spread to the North and again, nothing was done by the Health Ministry in sharp contrast to the proactive strides of the Liberian authorities.


Whilst we wish her fare thee well and good luck on her new appointment at the United Nations, it is now up to independent observers to evaluate just how fine our minister was whilst on duty.


The following was first published on March 6th 2012 this year.


Pujehunís Diarrhoea & Vomiting Crisis should be treated Seriously

By Sylvia O. Blyden

Freetown, Mar 6, 2012: Videos which were played on national television yesterday evening and photos published in tabloids, of situation in Sulima must have moved many people. I was recently in the area but for logistical reasons, could not move to Sulima to see first-hand the sufferings of people of Sorogbema Chiefdom.


However, I stayed at same guesthouse where personnel from an international NGO also stayed. They told me most categorically that field tests so far on infected patients, have been NEGATIVE for Cholera. This means, as of now, we do not know what is causing Sierra Leoneans along the Liberian border to suffer from a strange enteric fever.


Whilst speaking to local authorities during my trip, I also learnt that this same strange diarrhoea, vomiting and fever had recently attacked Liberian villages on the other side of the Mano River. The Liberian Government had speedily moved to evacuate several affected villages on their side whilst samples have been taken and sent overseas for further tests.


I am shocked that until now, no Central Government medical teams of doctors and clinicians have been dispatched to help the community health officers in Sorogbema and assess the crisis. It is time for our Government to take this crisis a little bit more seriously than they are doing. Let us keep our fingers crossed that we are not in the throes of some kind of Ebola-like fever which the authorities are under-estimating. If Liberia can be proactive with this illness, Sierra Leone should also be proactive. 


Over to Sierra Leone Government of H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

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