Fight against Ebola Unites Sierra Leone Politicians

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo

The recent speech delivered by His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on the deadly Ebola disease was one of solemnity. The speech clearly demonstrated his humanistic tendencies, political and religious tolerance, and love for fellow Sierra Leoneans.

The speech of President Koroma demonstrated high level of religious tolerance with Islamic Phrases like ‘Ramadan Kareem’ and ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ which impressed the Muslims who are in the majority in Sierra Leone. President Koroma is no doubt a devout Christian from birth but his religious tolerance especially when it comes to helping his Muslim brothers and sisters in performing their annual pilgrimage here in Saudi Arabia has earned him serious respect among the Muslim populace.

In his recent speech, President Koroma showed very serious concern over the deadly Ebola virus by appealing to all Sierra Leoneans to pray for the victims for speedy recovery. While many Sierra Leoneans erroneously believe that the deadly disease does not exist in Sierra Leone, President Koroma made it very clear to every Sierra Leonean that Ebola is something that is real and dangerous.

The President’s speech also raised awareness of collective responsibility to fight the killer disease which cannot be tackled by government alone but with the collective efforts of all Sierra Leoneans and our development partners. This clarion call made by the Head of State has been hearkened to by all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of religion, political beliefs or regional divide.

Political parties, religious groups, city and district councils, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, the media and other concerned institutions and organizations have all joined the fight against the deadly Ebola Disease with great trepidation.

The APC Government and its development partners have provided the necessary funds to raise awareness in the nook and cranny of the country about the killer Ebola disease that has taken its toll on tens of human lives especially in the Eastern Regional District of Kailahun, where the outbreak of the disease was first reported in May, this year.

President Koroma’s speech therefore clearly demonstrates the seriousness and determination by his administration to combat the killer disease by providing resources to Members of Parliament from Kailahun and Kenema Districts where the epidemic is reported to have broken out. The President also recognized and appreciated efforts of individual persons, organizations, associations, religious groups, paramount chiefs, local and international partners for their relentless efforts in combating the epidemic.

Despite the government has provided the whooping sum of Le 8 Billion in an effort to combat the deadly Ebola disease, President Koroma, Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana and Cabinet Ministers have reportedly scarified part of their salaries for the month of June towards the fight against the Ebola disease – such efforts by the President and his cabinet may water down doubts over government’s efforts in curbing the Ebola disease.

The good news is the fight against the deadly Ebola virus has united all political parties in the course of preventing the spread of the disease across the country. Members of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have made very meaningful contributions towards curbing the menace which the government highly appreciates. Even the controversial National Publicity Secretary of the SLPP, Hon. Musa Tamba Sam, whose constituency the deadly disease was first suspected, has succumbed to the fact that the killer Ebola virus is real and dangerous. Other MP’s from the district have had sleepless nights sensitizing their people about the existence of the killer virus in their respective communities. Other MP’s from the other regions of the country are also empowered by government to raise awareness among their constituents about the Ebola disease.

In a similar development, United States Atlanta based National Democratic Alliance (NDA) party strong man, Mohamed C. Bah recently wrote: “Sierra Leoneans everywhere stand in solidarity with the government of President Koroma to confront this health crisis with a collective mission of defeating it and knowing that what affects one of us affects all of us. Ebola does not discriminate and knows no boundaries.”

Sorie Fofana served as Sierra Leone’s Press Attaché to the United Kingdom from 2002-2007 under the late President Kabbah’s administration. He also wrote on his Facebook page last Tuesday that: “The government is really doing its best to curtail the spread of the disease. Let us pray for our country. Ebola does not look for party colours. This is a national crisis that needs a national approach.”

Though the Minister of Health and Sanitation has been thoroughly grilled by both Parliament and a cross section of the Media about efforts made by her Ministry to curb the spread of the virus in the country, yet the Minister and the health workers are working overtime to ensure the disease does not spread in the country. For instance, the government has made prompt effort in designing an Ebola Response Plan, the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to mobilize support across the various government agencies, establishment of National Taskforce comprising committees on case management, laboratory and surveillance, logistics, communication, setting up of pre-referral centers in Koindu and Daru, treatment centers in Kailahun and Kenema, observation units in government hospitals and health facilities nationwide, and the continuous training of more health workers on weekly basis.

President Koroma in his speech appealed to all stakeholders especially the leadership of political parties to come up with genuine plans and actions which government will give support to get rid of the disease. With the provision of the mouthwatering Le 8 billion by Government as additional money to contain the deadly Ebola disease in the country, government has clearly manifested its determination to get rid of the disease in its entirety. It is against the backdrop of such reality that President Koroma in his recent speech invoked the Public Health Ordinance of 1960 for the unbelieving Thomas’s who are obstinately recalcitrant towards taking suspected cases to the appropriate health facilities.

The President also instructed the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to ensure that all vehicles and their commuters entering and leaving Kailahun and Kenema Districts by virtue of the epidemic should be thoroughly screened by the appropriate authorities at the various check-points that have been mounted along the highway, which is a very good measure to control the spread of the disease.

As Sierra Leoneans of various walks of life have united in the fight against the spread of the Ebola disease, may the Almighty Allah guide and protect all Sierra Leoneans from the epidemic until we succeed in containing it in the country. May God bless President Koroma and the citizens of Sierra Leone.

© 2014, Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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