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EBOLA: WHY MY PEOPLE?

By Josephine A. Seppeh (Intern)

The Ebola epidemic in our country started like a joke, but has spread like wildfire in the harmattan. Things are falling apart and the nook and cranny of the country is in as state of panic. People are dying on a daily basis and it seems we are doomed. Our economy is being threatened because of this disease. I have been contemplating all this while and asking myself many questions without finding answers, but to question the ailment itself: EBOLA WHY MY PEOPLE?

The question I know is rhetorical. However, it sums how I feel about the death of innocent people who are victims of the current health circumstances. It places a huge burden in my heart that such a plague has befallen us and people are being killed because of this unfortunate situation.  I wonder where we are heading to with such an unfortunate circumstance.

With all this in mind, we should not let our concern for tomorrow keep us from making an impact today. This is the time for every Sierra Leonean to face the fact and acknowledge that our beloved country is set for doom with such a deadly virus on the rampage. In this time and moment, we ought to be patriotic citizens with true spirit and sincere interest in our beloved country. We need to put aside all tribal, ethnic, social and political differences for the growth and development of Mama Salone.

As Sierra Leoneans, we need to work relentlessly and endlessly for a positive transformation and to kick Ebola out of our country. Casting blames and pointing fingers on others can’t take us anywhere, rather we should strengthen and put aside individual grudges and hatred among us, and together get rid of the enemy – ‘EBOLA´ – lest it penetrates deeper and sends us all to our early graves. It is high time we embraced the fight against EBOLA and save our country from further destruction.

The fact of the matter is that there are many stories since the advent of Ebola, but it is also true that the disease is real and exists in the country, killing hundreds of people on its trail. Ominously there is no cure for the virus yet, although there are hopes that scientists will soon reach a breakthrough in finding a cure.

It is therefore time to adhere to warnings from health experts in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading. Prevention they say is better than cure. I wonder what the future would hold if we don’t strategize and find a way to fight this common enemy called EBOLA.

This is a herculean task and I make bold to say it is not going to be easy as fighting such a deadly disease requires all the effort, attention, time and finance to make the venture a successful one.

You will probably agree with me that the economy of the country is fast deteriorating since the outbreak of the EBOLA virus in May; prices of commodities and services have escalated. Most households that survived on three meals a day now survive on two or one. Traders are finding it difficult to make profits in their businesses because there is a state of emergency, and the epicenters have been effectively quarantined, preventing the free movement of people and goods into those areas. Also, Guinea and Liberia, which like Sierra Leone are battling one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in the world, have also closed their borders – halting the movement of persons and goods through their respective borders. The effect on consumers has been telling, with many struggling to buy goods because of the hike in prices. Investors are leaving the country in droves, with some mining companies closely monitoring the situation to decide their next option.

Lots of projects are being put to standstill as many, if not all, activities have been postponed. It is high time we understood that if we allow this disease to continue spiraling, things will be made more difficult than they are now. Sierra Leone is our home and there is no place like home. Therefore, every Sierra Leonean must be willing to cooperate with the government and other partners in the fight against this deadly disease.

Our destiny is in our own hands and we must do everything humanly possible within our reach to fight the disease. I believe the measures that have already been put in place by the government for the prevention and control of the disease are good enough, albeit the emphasis should be on commercial vehicles, especially for buses and minibuses (poda podas) not to overload. Put simply, passengers must not cluster in vehicles: both for those running in the city as well as those plying provincial routes.

Finally, the Ebola sensitization must take a crescendo, especially in the epicenters and towns in the provinces. Also, people must learn to be positive in their thinking and not say negative things that would discourage others. We must pray earnestly and fervently so that this plague that has befallen us will be successfully defeated to engender positive transformation in our beloved country.