By Matthew Jabby
General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority (SLPA), Abu Bakarr Bangura, yesterday sensitized staff about the deadly Ebola virus which has so far killed at least 254 Sierra Leoneans.
Speaking at the conference hall of the SLPA, Bangura said the virus poses a critical challenge to them because hundreds of people go to the quay each day. He said the sensitisation meeting targeted staff in a bid to raise awareness on the deadliness of the virus, which since May has spread from Kailahun to Kenema and all but one of the 14 geopolitical regions in the country.
He said the virus can only be defeated by the collective resolve of everyone.
The management of SLPA has placed chlorinated water in all the entrances at the country’s sole quay, and everyone is expected to wash their hands before they enter the building, he said.
Dr. Abdulai Jalloh, senior medical officer at the port, said Ebola victims show signs and symptoms like high fever, abdominal pain, joint or body pain, difficulty in swallowing, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and rash, and in some cases bleeding through the mouth, eyes, nose, ears and anus.
He said that Ebola can be transmitted by saliva and other secretions such as stool, urine, semen, vagina secretions, running nose, and blood, adding that when these fluids get in contact with broken skin, the eyes, or mouth of healthy persons, the latter can contract the virus.
He advised against touching as Ebola does not respect anybody.