NOVEMBER 10, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Popular businessman and philanthropist, Momoh Konte, has been working assiduously in tandem with the Koinadugu District Ebola Task Force to ensure that the necessary support is provided to local stakeholders at the forefront of the Ebola fight.
Last Thursday (6 November), Mr. Konte led a delegation of district stakeholders and journalists to Kumala Town, the most affected town in the district, to witness the burning of houses affected by the Ebola virus disease – to break the chain of infection – and to provide medical and non-medical support to suspected and confirmed Ebola patients.
The decision to burn houses previously inhabited by Ebola patients was reached by consensus at a general meeting in Kabala, headquarters of the mountainous northern district, sometime this year, although occupants were assured that new homes will be constructed for them.
The items donated include a 5kva generator and electrical fittings for the newly constructed Ebola center; 400 bundles of water, mattresses and beddings for healthcare staff; thermometers; oral rehydration salt (ORS); 100 boxes of immune boosters; a bottle of Nano Silver; disposable plates, spoons and cups; and three cows to feed patients who are responding to treatment.
Also, payments were made to ex-military personnel that have been recruited to provide security at quarantined homes.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Konte described the current period as challenging, not least for the district task force, medical team and stakeholders that are working round the clock to eradicate the virus from the district.
According to him, it was prudent to commence treatment of suspected Ebola patients and other related illnesses early, than to wait for samples to be confirmed in Freetown; a development he said causes delay and deaths.
“We are ready to work as a team and to even spend our last penny to save Koinadugu from Ebola. Let me make it very clear that whatsoever we are doing now should not be politicized. This is a challenging period for all of us in Koinadugu,” Konte said and disclosed that they have set themselves a target of breaking the chain of infection in the district within the next 30 to 45 days.
With regards the burning of five houses, Mr. Konte stated that the move by the task force, in consultation with the house owners, was not punishment but a radical measure to eradicating the virus.
He informed the gathering that a total of 50 people will be trained in the local dialect – Koranko – to serve as contact tracers.
On his part, chairman of the Task Force, Dr. Fasineh Samura, lauded the painstaking effort of Konte in ensuring that Ebola is eradicated in the district, noting: “We are sure that the trend will go down in the next two weeks because the disease is still in the same catchment (sic) areas. We are having challenge of food.”
District Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Moses, expressed his delight about the support his team has been receiving from stakeholders in the district. “If this is what has been happening in other districts, Ebola should have been contained in the country this November,” he said.
In his statement, Paramount Chief Alimamy Foday Umaru Jalloh III commended members of the task force for the financial and technical support they continue to provide to the Ebola fight.
“Ebola cases in the district have become a catastrophe. We are only lucky to have Momoh Konte in the forefront of the fight. I am strongly convinced that Ebola will soon be a thing of the past in our district,” the traditional ruler said rather confidently.