African Minerals Limited continues with its awareness raising campaigns on Ebola as part of its health and safety commitment to employees and communities at the mines, port and rail operations in Tonkolili and Pepel, north of the country.
The initiative, being undertaken by the community relations department with support from all other departments at AML, was inspired by the recent visit of the chairman, Frank Timis, who came in the country at the height of the Ebola outbreak and gave his moral support to the government and people of Sierra Leone. He spent days meeting with his employees and local authorities to encourage confidence and give help respectively.
The latest of such sensitization moves, especially in relocated communities in the Kalasonsogia, Sambaya and Kafesimira chiefdoms, were done in local languages and with simple messages on the nature of the sickness, its symptoms, its effects on people and society and most importantly how it could be avoided.
Local authorities, community youth groups and other stakeholders were capacitated to mobilise their people at court barrays, community halls, chief compounds and open fields where megaphones, videos and huge speakers, were used to pass on the messages. The activity, which started on Wednesday 2July in these chiefdoms, would end on 14 July.
“We use video messages compiled by the ministry of health in collaboration with UNFPA and the Sierra Leone Red Cross, to pass the message across to our local communities. We started at new Ferengbaia, targeting relocated communities of Foria, Wondugu and Feregbaia”, said Isata Tejan, a nurse in the community relations department.
She explained that the messages were well understood based on the type of questions people asked about the disease at the end of the meetings, adding that they started by targeting school children and later met with chiefdom elders, ‘mammy queens’, young men and women.
Meanwhile, the company’s Medical Director based in Pepel, Dr Florinela Cirstina, presented a cheque for Le21million to the Chief Medical Officer in the ministry of health, Dr Brima Kargbo, as a way to tackle the current education challenges of children in the Ebola affected region, east of the country.
Flori said the management of AML was passionate about the health of the nation, especially the children, and was therefore making a modest contribution to help.
“We have always and will continue to be in constant touch with the ministry and the government. We will soon inform you about some material donations to health facilities along our operations in Pepel, Makeni and Tonkolili,” she assured.
Dr Kargbo said they were grateful for the intervention and collaboration in the fight against the disease outbreak.