January 27, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Sierra Leone Social Aid Volunteers (SLSAV) over the weekend hosted the visiting International Director of Christian Aid, Paul Valentin, in Port Loko district.
Mr. Valentin met with staff at the District Health Management Team (DHMT), Ebola survivors and people in quarantined homes in the Port Loko district.
While welcoming the London-based Christian Aid International Director, District Health Officer II at the DHMT, Fatmata Bayoh, thanked the Christian Aid team for their support through SLSAV to end the Ebola virus, adding that SLSAV has contributed significantly to the District Emergency Response, especially in social mobilization, contact tracing, surveillance and logistics.
Ms. Bayoh said Ebola cases have been coming down in the district, thanks to the effort of the Command Centre and the DHMT, noting that they have been faced with numerous challenges to stem the chain of infection, due to inordinate belief in cultural practices and family affinity.
She called on Christian Aid to help with refresher training, water and sanitation and solar lights, which could encourage people to come the hospital for treatment whenever they are ill.
Speaking during a brief meeting at the DHMT office, Mr. Valentin stated Port Loko had been on television news reportage as one of the hotspots of Ebola in Sierra Leone, adding that the Sierra Leone has been in a health dilemma for the past nine months as many people have lost their lives to the deadly virus.
“We are not a medical team, but our organization will continue supporting government till the end of the outbreak. I will deliver all what I have heard from your office and we will continue supporting our local partners in the eradication of the disease,” Mr. Valentin promised and urged the DHMT to continue doing community mobilization to raise aware about the disease.
Also, Executive Director of SLSAV, Alfred Alex Jatta Dumbuya, said that with support from Christian Aid Sierra Leone and ENCISS, his organization has shown keen interest and leadership to work closely with government, international bodies, and community structures to eradicate the Ebola virus.
Dumbuya maintained that with partnership with Christian Aid, through the Disaster Emergency Committee funding, SLSAV has consolidated its Ebola response package in Port Loko and Kambia districts, providing food and non-food items to quarantined homes and survivors, supporting national, district and chiefdom coordination, psycho-social support to communities, health facilities monitoring and media engagement and communication.
“We have also constructed Ebola community care centers, provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in Ebola holding centers and social mobilization in chiefdoms and community levels, especially in the Port Loko district and Kambia district respectively,” Dumbuya said.
In her statement, Christian Aid Country Manager, Jeanne Kamara stated that since the start of the Ebola outbreak, they have been working with local partners, including Paramount Chiefs and Senior District Officers, to end the deadly outbreak.
The International Director of Christian Aid also met with Paramount Chiefs in Maforkie and Kaffu Bullom, PCs Alikali Mella and Bai Shebora Sheba III, respectively, and donated food and non-food items to Ebola survivors and quarantined homes.
Making a statement at the donation ceremony, Paramount Chief Alikali Mella thanked Christian Aid for their support, through SLSAV, as he underscored that his chiefdom is one of the worst affected chiefdoms in the country.
He added that SLSAV has shown tremendous care and concern by providing foodstuff to quarantined homes in his chiefdom.
Also, Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Sheba III said he appreciated the goodwill shown by both Christian Aid and SLSAV, and promised the goodies would be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. He noted that that was not SLSAV’s maiden intervention in Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, as the organization had implemented WASH facilities in the chiefdom.
The donated items include, bags of rice, onions, gallons of vegetable oil, cartoons of tomatoes, milk, sardines, Maggie, bathing soap, laundry soap, Veronica buckets, Dettol, sanitary pad, foam mattress, among others.