February 17, 2015 By Martha Kargbo
A high-power delegation of Care International executives last week completed a working visit to the Northern Regional city of Makeni. The delegation, including Care International’s Vice President for International Programs and Operations, Nick Osborne from the United States of America, Humanitarian Director, Barbara E. Jackson from Switzerland, and Regional Head, Diawaruy Boury, had as minder with CARE Country Director Asmare Ayele.
The delegation visited the Bombali District Ebola Response Centre (DERC) on February 12, where Project Manager, Ishmael Kebbay, was effusive in his commendation of Care International country office.
“The fight against Ebola in Bombali could not have been successful without the unflinching support of our partners, especially Care International,” Kebbay told the visiting party.
During their stopover at the Makeni City Council, the CARE delegation held discussions with the Deputy Mayor, Isata Fofana and staff of the council on the work of the DERC and how they have been able to contain the Ebola infection rate in the district.
Spanning many years, CARE International has worked on maternal and sexual health, water and sanitation, and now Ebola Response, in many districts across Sierra Leone. The organization has also been providing logistics and administrative support for contact tracers and surveillance teams for the Bombali District Ebola Response Centre.
Also, in Makeni, the Care International delegation visited Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Kasangha II of Bombali-Shebora Chiefdom, with Makeni city being part of his geographical boundary.
Chief Bai Shebora Kasangha II paid glowing tribute to the Care International country office for their tremendous support to the district’s fight against the Ebola outbreak and planning a post-Ebola recovery strategy.
“With the support I have seen from Care International at the height of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, especially in Makeni, I have no doubt in my mind that together citizens of Bombali could quickly recover from the EVD epidemic,” the Paramount Chief concluded.
The Care International delegation drove to Freetown on Friday, February 13 where they visited the European Union and the USAID Ebola response team. The team held fruitful discussions on collaborative partnership to ensure rapid support during the post-Ebola era.
They also visited the Ministry of Health and Sanitation at Youyi Building and met with Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarian Kamara, who congratulated Care International for their supportive role since the outbreak of the EVD in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Kamara remarked that: “Even though Sierra Leone is presently recording low infection cases, we are effectively working on surveillance, contact tracing and community mobilization so as to avoid complacency, and Care International and other partners are very much supportive in all of these”.
In her statement, Humanitarian Director for Care International, Barbara E. Jackson, said she was impressed with the collaboration between the Sierra Leone Government and its partners.
“We are happy for the commitment of government to effectively handle the crisis and working towards post-Ebola recovery,” Ms. Jackson stated. She said they have heard stories of the ordeals of vulnerable groups and understood how the population has been affected by the Ebola virus.
The Humanitarian Director assured of Care International’s commitment to Sierra Leone and its people. She said her organization has a long standing relationship with Sierra Leone, spanning back to 1961.
Jackson said that they have been working to support the needs of women and children who are the most vulnerable as they are the most affected within the population.
Nick Osborne, who is in charge of international programmes and operations, said they were impressed with the incredible partnership among various partners in the fight against Ebola. He noted that it could sometimes be challenging but the government had been able to achieve tremendous progress.
Osborne told the deputy Chief Medical Officer that there was need to be vigilant as this is not the time for complacency. He stressed that there should be backtrack of cases in order to avoid recording high confirmed cases and to continue building on the successes gained so far.
He said that Ebola was not just a health issue but something that affected many facets of life.