Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 October 2014
Hundreds of Sierra Leoneans living in London were on the streets of the capital today, marching with placards and calling for more to be done to save lives in Sierra Leone, where unofficial estimates put the total number of those killed by the virus in the last seven months to over 3,000.
But the government is denying the true extent of the Ebola disaster, which many in Sierra Leone say has been exacerbated by government’s sloppiness, denial and incompetence.
The country’s ministry of health and sanitation says that the total number of Ebola deaths since May, 2014 is 1,049.
But according to the newly formed National Ebola Response Centre, which is led by the military, over 300 bodies have been buried in Freetown alone in the last one week, once again prompting accusations of massive cover-up by government officials.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 October 2014
Having thrown everything at Ebola – including the kitchen sink, president Koroma was yesterday described by pro-government media as “looking very tired and losing his pop idol looks”.
But a real commander in chief is never ruffled by the enemy, let alone worried about piling up the wrinkles and grey hair, under the strain of leadership.
The president may be down on the canvass, but he doesn’t seem ready to throw in the towel just yet, in total submission.
He is believed to be contemplating military style tactics and precision, in delivering his killer blow on Ebola. Will it work?
John Baimba Sesay – China
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 October 2014
I submitted recently that, the stigma attached to the Ebola Virus Disease is an enemy within that will take months or years to overcome.
I argued that until, particularly the western media can see the need to also present the positives in terms of Africa’s growth, they will never focus on ‘the other side of the continent’ – if all they care about is their ‘raw materials’ of war, poverty, famine, and health hazards.
My argument was based on the premise that since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, not only have the affected nations been portrayed by a section of the international media as nations with no future and with broken hopes, but ones with explicit mistrust between those running state affairs and those upon who’s behalf the affairs of state is managed.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 October 2014
‘Sierra Leone’s new Ebola Czar and chief executive of the country’s National Ebola Response Centre – Major Palo Conteh (Photo) is being groomed to take over the running of the country, with threats of the economy and community life collapsing under the weight of Ebola, becoming ever more real.’
That is the open secret, now doing the rounds in the corridors of State House in Freetown.
And as the world awaits the publication of the latest Sierra Leone Ebola statistics update, there are rumours that the new head of the country’s National Ebola Response Centre – former head of the army – Major Palo Conteh, has not only toppled the country’s minister of health in the war against Ebola, but has taken full control of Ebola information management, as well as the manipulation and dissemination of data.
In a statement delivered at the handing over ceremony of new ambulances brought into the country by the World Bank, the ‘now all powerful’ Major Palo Conteh announced that the country’s minister of health is no longer responsible for managing the Ebola crisis.
Ismail Mahmud Sheriff
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2014
The World Bank and partners are providing funding, logistics and technical support to the three most affected countries. Yet, new infections are doubling, and more people are dying.
The problem is that, “we have still not been able to break the chain of transmission”, a senior government official in Sierra Leone said.
Three key challenges remain; inadequate Logistics, resistance to behavioral change and inadequate technical expertise.
Logistically, health workers still need mobility, among other things to be able to respond effectively.
Contact tracers, surveillance and burial teams are key in breaking the chain of transmission.
If there is a sick or a dead person in a home, but the ambulance or burial team cannot get there in time, it puts family members at serious risk.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 October 2014
As the number of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone is poised to exceed 10,000 by the beginning of next year, there is growing fear that the yet to be constructed holding and treatment centres will be swamped.
Sierra Leone currently has about 300 Ebola holding and treatment beds. Immediate demand is estimated at 3,000 beds.
The planned completion of four newly built regional centres by the British before February 2015, is expected to bring into deployment 750 additional beds in the country – 2,250 short of the estimated 3,000 new beds needed to cope with the crisis today.
But the arrival of about 400 British troops in Sierra Leone, so far is making a huge difference to the population’s sense of hope of any chance of Ebola being defeated.
The battle may have started, but the real war on Ebola is yet to begin.