From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone News : Ebola Deaths are Under-Reported!
Sep 9, 2014, 17:30

Diplomat in charge of the American Embassy in Freetown has on Monday September 8th 2014 positively acknowledged newly appointed Health & Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu-bakarr Fofanah. Writing on FACEBOOK pages, Madam Kathleen FitzGibbon stated: "The acting Minister of Health and Sanitation presented the Presidential Task Force with the grim reality of the statistics, but more importantly, the story of the data".


The U.S. diplomat wrote of how "There is no doubt that the situation is deteriorating with tens of cases testing positive daily", but added, "The good news about the bad news is that the truth will set us free".


Others present at said meeting inform that a truth which will help set Sierra Leone free is truth about actual number of deaths from Ebola in Sierra Leone but which many had condemned as under-reported.


In Medicine, Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for Laboratory Confirmed Cases during an Ebola Outbreak is defined as Number of Deaths over Number of Cases (in percentages). As confirmed by the U.S. diplomat,  Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah, new Health Minister who is a highly qualified doctor, has critiqued method of calculating number of Sierra Leone deaths (CFR) in ongoing Ebola Outbreak.


As stated by the U.S. diplomat, the well-spoken gentleman was diplomatic as he told Presidential Task Force on Ebola that method used to get Sierra Leone CFR (death rate) under his predecessor Ms. Miatta Kargbo, was  “correct but not correct”.


He carefully used hospital admission data to explain in simple terms as to why actual deaths of laboratory confirmed cases in Sierra Leone were much higher than those numbers being announced. Further, he called for an eventual, in-depth national review of all deaths that would’ve occured as Probable and Suspected Ebola cases in order to properly record the extent of deaths from Ebola in Sierra Leone.


According to Dr Fofana, a low 38% CFR for Sierra Leone is misleading & counter-productive as against 70% CFR for Liberia and 60% CFR for Guinea.


Indeed, this paper is informed that international  donors will see Sierra Leone as not needing much help and will instead pour in more human resource and logistics into Liberia and Guinea as they might seem to be doing much worse than Sierra Leone. In reality as the table below shows (as of last Friday 5th September), Sierra Leone is doing much worse than other countries in  laboratory confirmed cases.


Health Minister Dr. Fofanah opined that such very wrong death rate announced for Sierra Leone was not only short-changing the country’s efforts at harnessing resources from the global community but will de-rail future social welfare efforts aimed at ameliorating plight of widows & orphans left behind.

Table of WHO data they received from the three Governments as at 5th September 2014

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.