“All Is Not Lost” President Koroma Buoys Health Workers

At a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Monday 6th October, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma officially presided over the discharge of forty-nine (49) Ebola survivors treated and cured by an all Sierra Leonean medical staff at the Hastings Treatment Centre.

He paid glowing tribute to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for their tireless efforts in the fight against the dreadful Ebola virus, and also commended the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) for their contribution in ensuring the center was up and running.

President Koroma described the occasion as a great day and a turning point particularly so when 49 Sierra Leoneans, including children who had been infected with the Ebola virus are being discharged after being treated and cured of the virus. He attributed this great success as a showcase of our national and collective efforts in the fight against Ebola, and noted that despite the death toll on the part of the health officials, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has shown continued commitment by coming up with training programmes that had turned out to save the lives of 49 of their compatriots. “They have spent the shortest time in training and they have met a big centre. Notwithstanding, they are able to cope and we want to thank them. This is a great effort,” he said.

The president encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to come together and continue to get more confidence that “we can do it as all is not lost”. The Hastings Treatment Centre started operations on the 19th September during the three day “Ose to Ose Ebola Tok” campaign. President Koroma acknowledged that had it not been for the treatment centre, it would have been extremely difficult to organize the three day stay at home exercise. He urged the survivors to take the message to their various communities, saying that “if you are infected with Ebola and you report early and do what the health workers tell you to do,” the President said, “you will be saved.” “You should go out there and tell the story not only that Ebola will be cured but also that your Sierra Leonean compatriots admitted and treated you of Ebola.” With these, he urged the various communities to accept and integrate the survivors.

President Koroma also pledged his commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of the affected children, noting that government will follow up and make the necessary arrangement to make sure that the kids are adequately settled. He appealed for more treatment centers and up to 1,000 beds to intensify this fight and to effectively make use of the locals of the various communities in sensitization, contact tracing, surveillance and social mobilization for the job to be done quickly.

The Minister of Health and Sanitation Mr. Abu Bakarr Fofana pointed out that the survivors were cured entirely by Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses with no external intervention. He also aised all to take the right precautions to avoid contracting the virus. The survivors, he said, have been entirely disinfected of Ebola and cannot transmit Ebola. As a symbolic gesture, the minister hugged and shook hands with some of the survivors.

As part of their mandate of protecting lives and property, the Inspector General of Police, Francis Alieu Munu said they will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to boost the fight against Ebola. He also urged the health ministry to pay close attention to the Waterloo community.

Source : Government of Sierra Leone

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