As victory towards the virus is in sight, President Koroma urged Port Loko and Kambia districts to bolster efforts and continue to remain vigilant until the country is declared Ebola free. He described Ebola survivors as heroes and heroines that have played a pivotal role in response activities in defeating the virus. Whilst encouraging both districts to embrace survivors, he said survivors should not be stigmatised or discriminated against.
He disclosed that government has launched Project Shield to take a careful look at survivors and also provide them with free medical care. ” It is now clear that we can live with survivors and that is why we must embrace them,” he emphasized.
The Chief Mobilizer called on the two districts to support the survivors and not use their circumstances to isolate them. He underscored the significance to finally flush the disease stating that the traditional leaders must continue to enforce the bye-laws and abide strictly to the regulations put in place to fend off the disease. “We must not reverse the gains made so far,” he noted.
President Koroma cautioned traditional and secret society heads and asked them to refrain from any form of initiation until the country is declared Ebola free. He pointed out that until neighbouring Guinea is declared Ebola free, the fight against the disease still continues. “We must take a regional approach to finally defeat the virus, ” he emphasised.
Giving a situational update of Kambia, District Medical Officer Foday Sesay said the district has gone over 38 days without registering a case of Ebola. He said the district has intensified cross border intervention and community surveillance, community ownership, strengthening health border screening and regular sharing of information.
District Ebola Coordinator for Port Loko Hon. Raymond Kabia said the National Psychosocial Pillar Lead – Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and children Affairs, Partners in Health and other partners have also contributed tremendously towards the welfare of about 600 survivors in the entire Port Loko district. He furthered that school packages have been given to 250 school going survivors, over 400 have received discharged packages, 600 have been gainfully employed and 600 have received clinical care.
Sherry Bangura, an Ebola survivor, expressed appreciation of government’s tremendous support provided to them and assured the president that they will not be of any form of infection. Emma Bangura, a female survivor in Kambia district stated that survivors in the district are playing a crucial role in the Ebola response through community engagement, cross border surveillance and psychosocial pillar.