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As Kailahun records zero for 42 days

Paramount Chief appeals to stakeholders

January 27, 2015 By Regina Pratt

Kailahun District celebrated zero Ebola infections spanning 42 days last Sunday, thus achieving World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark for being declared Ebola free.

The district recorded the index case of the virulent virus in May last year, and was one of two epicentre districts – the other being Kenema – in the early months of the outbreak.

Paramount Chief of Jawie Chiefdom, Musa Gbombu Gbla Kallon, expressed delight about the milestone and appealed to all stakeholders within and outside the district to continue to observe health safety rules aimed at keeping the virus at bay.

Chief Kallon admitted the fight against the deadly virus was not easy for his chiefdom and the entire district, as the latter recorded 565 positive cases.

The traditional chief also suffered immense personal loss at the start of the outbreak when ignorance about the disease was at its highest.

“I lost my wife and daughter in June last year to Ebola,” he said. “I am happy now that there is no more reported cases from our district,” adding that awareness among residents is very high, with people reporting deaths of loved ones to local and health authorities.

He disclosed that they would still be vigilant as they are not oblivious that the borders with Guinea and Liberia – two Ebola hit countries – are porous.

He commended government and partners – local and international, especially Medicines Sans Frontiers and Save the Children – for doing a wonderful job in helping save lives in the eastern district.

He appealed to government and other stakeholders to assist residents of the district, many of whom have been left impoverished by the outbreak, orphaned or widowed.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker from the district, Hon. Mustapha Brima of Constituency 02, said district stakeholders and government officials headed by Local Government Minister, Mrs. Diana Konomanyi-Kabbah, will meet in Kailahun town to celebrate the historic milestone.

Kailahun becomes the district in the country, after Pujehun in the south, to go 42 days without recording a single case of Ebola.

According to Osman Kargbo, residents of the township of Kailahun, headquarters of the district, were in a celebratory mood not least because President Ernest Bai Koroma last Thursday removed travel restrictions to districts across the country – which were imposed in August last year on Kailahun and Kenema.