42 days countdown starts today
August 25, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday told Sierra Leoneans that the country will start counting 42 days today after the last Ebola patient was discharged at the Mateneh Ebola Treatment Centre, run by the International Medical Corps.
The President was speaking at a ceremony to mark the discharge of Adama Sankoh from Massesebeh village in the Tonkolili District, at the Mateneh Ebola Treatment Centre, which brought together stakeholders from government, international donors and local dignitaries.
While delivering his keynote address, President Koroma said Madam Sankoh was the last remaining patient nationwide, which marks the beginning of the end of the Ebola virus in the country, noting that the country will today start the countdown to end the epidemic.
He cautioned though that the outbreak has not yet been brought to an end.
According to President Koroma, the country has lost over 3,586 lives during the outbreak, with 4,000 survivors nationwide, adding that it was time to support and reintegrate survivors into society.
He also lauded efforts and support of development partners, health workers, including doctors, the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and the various District Ebola Response Centres across the country, and as well as the police, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), political parties, religious leader, traditional leaders and Sierra Leoneans who contributed to the fight against the Ebola virus.
President Koroma also called on Sierra Leoneans not to be complacent in the fight, as the outbreak was yet to be brought under control in the sub-region. “We still have quarantine homes and it is time for us to use the right procedures. I want to celebrate so that our economy can grow,” he said.
Chief Operating Officer of NERC, Stephen Gaojia, said NERC would ensure that the countdown will be smooth, adding that they would never allow the Ebola virus to roam freely in the country.
He said the virus does not lie and therefore called on people to report any form of illness to the hospital and urged vigilance in the fight to finally eradicate the virus in the country.
In her vote of thanks, survivor Adama Sankoh thanked the government and the International Medical Corps for their relentless effort in saving her life, and promised to sensitise members of her community to call the Ebola hotline 117 for treatment.
She also called on President Koroma to help her family as his son who used to take care of her died during the outbreak.