Four Districts in the North Committed To Go Sustainable Zero Ebola Infection

Kambia, Mar. 14, 2015 (MOHS) – Stakeholders including Paramount Chiefs, Section Chiefs, Tribal Heads, Herbalists, Youth and Women Groups in the Kambia, Port Loko, Tonkolili and Bombali districts have committed to scale down the Ebola virus disease to zero infection.
zeroCross section of the saddening Bombali audience

The stakeholders made the commitment to the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma over the weekend during the continuation of his Social Mobilization and Sensitization tour ahead of the re-opening of schools.

zero1President Koroma addressing the Kambia meeting

Giving an update on the Ebola situation in Kambia, the District Medical Officer, Dr. Foday Sesay on behalf of the District Health Management Team, the District Ebola Response Centre, the Council and partners disclosed that about 10,000 people are crossing the Kambia border on a weekly basis for which they have intensified surveillance to avert the spill out of cross border transmission, adding that with the collaboration with the Guinea Ebola Response Team at Foray Karia 33 trained military officers have been deployed. There is now free movement of Surveillance Officers across the border, Dr. Sesay maintained.

zero2District Medical Officer, Kambia, Dr. Foday Sesay

He reported 191 cumulative cases as of March 12, 2015 describing the Magbema and Tonkor Limba chiefdoms as the hotspot communities. Case search, Dr. Sesay said is being carried in 3 communities per day, and the MAWOPNET Radio Station is doing extremely well in airing sensitization messages covering Guinea and Liberia.

On the re-opening of schools, preparations have been made based on the guidelines and protocols for the 415 schools starting with Needs Assessment on human resource capacity to fill the gaps of teachers who passed away.

The good news is that teaching and learning materials have been provided, and three 20 ft. containers are awaiting distribution from the logistics provided by government.

It was disclosed that 2,299 Radio sets have been provided and the payment of school fees by the government is also on course.

The big challenge in Kambia is the non-compliance on reporting sick cases and secret burial.

In Port Loko, the District Medical Officer, Dr. Adekali Kamara reported increase in cases in the Kaffu Bullom and Lokomasama chiefdoms with 12 cases reported from February to March 13, 2015, and zero infection in the Sanda Magbolontor chiefdom. Secret Burial by Traditional Healers still continues, and poses a big challenge, Dr. Kamara told his audience.

zero3Cross section of Port Loko audience

On the preparation for the re-opening of schools, a back to school confidence building campaign is ongoing, 750 teachers trained for the use of inferred thermometer, chlorine, first kits, infection prevention and psycho social counseling. Eighty-seven among the 750 teachers were also selected as contact tracers. Decontamination, rehabilitation of schools, provision of water and accommodation including the redeployment of teachers that were engaged on surveillance and contact tracing were all issues of concern raised ahead of the re-opening of schools by the Deputy Director of Education, Mr. Brima Koroma.

zero4District Medical Officer, Port Loko, Dr. Adikali Kamara

The Bombali District Situation Report was saddening, as people still toying with the Ebola. No compliance on the precautionary measure, Bye-Laws and the Legal Regulations to contain the epidemic. The practices of Secret burial, ‘Bondo’ secret society, and other negative cultural practices are ongoing in some parts of the district, ignoring the suspension on all cultural activities which has led to the death of 42 people in Rosanda village. An imported case of one Abass Koroma from Aberdeen in Freetown resulted to the infection of 54 people, leading to the death of 42 people. A Pregnant woman among those infected carried the virus to the Makeni Government hospital and infected a Nurse and a Porter believed to be dead.

Tonkolili was the only district that gave the President a smiling face on the day of his Presidential tour March 15, 2015. The district scored 20 days sustainable zero infection, and promised to make a growing progress.

zero5Cross section of Tonkolili audience

The other good news, according to the District Medical Officer, Dr. Augustine Jummisa is the increasing accessibility of the health centers and the Magburaka Government hospital by patients. The influx of patients into the maternity wards, the male and female medical wards, and the Out-patient were also encouraging, meaning the Ebola fears are no longer in the minds of the people.

zero6District Medical Officer, Tonkolili, Dr. Augustine Jimmisa

Preparations for the re-opening of schools as presented by the Deputy Director of Education, Dr. Umar Bah for teachers, pupils, and students indicate progress towards the deadline for the re-opening of schools.

Making his general assessment on the four Ebola Situation Reports, President Koroma commended the people of Tonkolili for the progress made and encouraged them to keep the momentum. The 20 days zero infection he said is encouraging and must be improved and sustained beyond 42 days zero infection. “Continue to be focused and remain vigilant “, the President opined.

zero10(From R-L) President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, CEO, NERC, Rtd. Major Palo Conteh and Deputy Health Minister II, Madam Madina Rahman

Sierra Leone he said is under pressure to attain a national zero infection by April 15, 2015 following the recent Mano River Union (MRU) Summit in Guinea.

“District restrictions, Bye-Laws and Regulations must be effectively enforced noting that the Public Health Emergently is still in force”- President Koroma.

zero8President Koroma addressing the people of Bombali district

The case of Abass Koroma from Aberdeen to Rosanda in the Bombali district was as a result of no respect for Law and Order, and indiscipline which resulted to the 42 people. The Head of the household, the Community and Chiefs were all found guilty for failing to report to the appropriate authorities or using the 117 alert.

The President optimistically said Sierra Leone will bounce again to regain its economic recovery growth and development but very unpleasant with the people of Bombali, pointing out that if their situation continues as it is, schools will re-open in other districts, and Bombali remain closed.

zero9President Koroma at the precinct of the Masongbo Health Centre in dialogue with District Medical Officer, Dr. Osaio Kamara (extreme right). Second from right, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation II, Madam Madina Rahman

Visit to schools, quarantined homes and the Masongbo Health Centre in the out skirt of Makeni formed the climaxed of the Presidential tour.

JAK/KK/MOHS