…says President Koroma
April 29, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
In his address to the nation on Monday, 27 April as Sierra Leone marked 54 years of independence, President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that, “Every family is responsible for our collective destiny, for until every individual in every family in every community is declared Ebola free, this country cannot be declared Ebola free. Every body counts, everybody is responsible, this is the message I want every Sierra Leonean, and every friend of Sierra Leone to state over and over again.”
He said: “We now have the workers, the expertise and facilities to deal with Ebola. But that is only half the story of the fight against Ebola. The other half is our individual responsibility to obey the rules set out to fight Ebola.”
He continued that: “Government is not in every room where people fall sick, government is not in every place where people lose their loved ones, so government on its own cannot stop people from touching the sick and the dead. Individuals and families must themselves stop themselves from touching the sick and the dead. Government and health workers can tell you what to do, but only you can do it.”
He maintained that the Ebola outbreak has challenged the country’s resilience and sought to control its destiny, but added boldly that, “We must be determined to place our destiny in our hands again. That is why even as we work very hard to get to and maintain zero cases, we are putting in place a post-Ebola Plan, and the implementation of a number of aspects of this plan has started.”
He disclosed that the government’s post-Ebola Plan has four clear-cut priorities: health, education, social protection and economic recovery through private sector development and revamping of the agricultural sector.
“Our plan follows the framework agreed upon by our sister republics in the Mano River Union, and it has attracted great support from our international partners,” he said.
He reiterated that during the course of the outbreak, Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated resilience and heroism, and that victory was in sight because. “We have collectively adapted our behaviour to fighting this disease as individuals, as families, as communities and as a nation. We must sustain these behaviours and habits.”
Thus, he implored that, “Let us continue to call 117 and health workers as soon as we notice Ebola symptoms, let us continue to call Ebola response workers to take care of our sick and safely bury our dead with dignity; let us continue to show adherence to the warning of health authorities. It is only when we sustain these measures that we can ensure that Sierra Leone rises again and continues in her transformative drive.”
He said even as the country continues to record zero new cases people must not forget that the fight back against Ebola was still on.
“Ebola is a very stubborn enemy. We must not be complacent, we must not relent, and we must continue to fight on until no one is infected with Ebola in our country and sub-region. Victory can only be declared when we have zero cases for continuous 42 days,” he called.