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NERC boss slams Brits over Kerry Town treatment centre

DECEMBER 2, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) has expressed his displeasure over the decision by the British to hand over the management of the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Centre to Save The Children.

Speaking yesterday during a joint press conference at the NERC headquarters in Freetown, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh said it was wrong for the British non-governmental organisation to have been put in charge of running of the centre, as according to him, Save The Children does not have the expertise to manage such a facility.

“Save The Children does not have the expertise to run the Kerry Town Treatment Centre. I think the British got it all wrong to have handed over the facility to them,” said Mr. Conteh. “They had never run an Ebola facility and it is not part of their [regular engagements].”

Moreover, according to the former Minister of Defence, a 400-bed treatment facility will be available in the next one week so that they could deal with the surge in Ebola cases, particularly in the Western Area where the number of new infections continues to rise.

Also speaking, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, emphasized that their goal was to ensure the Ebola virus disease disappears in West Africa, noting: “There has been an extraordinary response to the Ebola crisis. The world is taking note and providing unprecedented support, and we are starting to see results.”

He said people’s understanding of the disease has changed remarkably because communities were mobilizing, and that infected people were being treated in increasing numbers while contacts were being traced.

“Responses should be adjusted as the outbreak evolves,” urged Dr. Nabarro. “Where the intensity of the transmission is high, the emphasis should be on community mobilization, treatment centres, safe burials and essential services for those in need.”

Also speaking, head of the United Nations Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, said remarkable results had been achieved in the past 60 days because according to him, when UNMEER was created, there were 5,000 new cases recorded per month but now less than half of that number was being recorded.

“The global response has successfully turned the crisis around but the people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are still facing a very serious situation because people are still catching and dying of the disease,” observed the UNMEER head, while stressing that the Ebola war still remained a complex and multi-dimensional crisis. “In some places, there are not enough treatment facilities for some patients, and families are devastated by the disease. We need to get down to zero [cases] because that is the only success.”