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Citizens welcome President Koroma’s Ebola initiative

DECEMBER 19, 2014 With Victoria Saffa & Patrick J. Kamara

President Ernest Bai Koroma

President Ernest Bai Koroma

A cross-section of Freetown residents have highly welcomed President Ernest Bai Koroma’s initiative to eradicate Ebola in the new year following a national broadcast on Wednesday banning inter-district travel, New Year’s eve services, a moratorium on Sunday trading and half-day on Saturday, among others, throughout the festive season.

Concord Times’ Victoria Saffa and Patrick J. Kamara were on the streets of Freetown yesterday to gauge the views of citizens and some civil society activists on what they think about the new measures announced by the Head of State, code-named “Western Area Surge”.

Here are their views and comments…

Alfred Alex Jatta Dumbuya – Director, Sierra Leone Social Aid Volunteer (SLSAV)

As a civil society activist, I wholeheartedly welcome the president’s initiative in combating the deadly Ebola virus. The country is on Public Health Emergency and it is a good idea for the president to put measures in place in eradicating the disease from the country.

The epidemic has infected over six thousand and killed over two thousand lives because of denial and we are still to break the chain of transmission. I hope that with the President’s initiative in putting a ban on inter-district travelling throughout the festive season, New Year’s Eve service and no trading on Sunday, the virus will stop transmitting from one person to another.

I am appealing to my Christian brothers and sisters to adhere to the message of President Koroma and let them don’t insist on going to services.

Gandor Jalloh – Acting Director, Hawa Trust Organization

I feel very delighted over the message of President Koroma in putting a ban on inter-district travel throughout the festive season. With this ban, districts that have already seen improvement in combating the virus will not be infected again. The president is targeting sixty-days and with the house-to-house search, I believe we can contain the disease. I am appealing to civil servants and every Sierra Leonean to adhere to the president’s message in fighting the Ebola outbreak because the country is in a dilemma, more especially when many doctors and Sierra Leoneans are losing their lives.

Mary Yarjah – Portee Resident

I appreciate the message of President Koroma in restricting the movement of people during the festive season, but the government should have at least instituted a two weeks lockdown. Though many people will start seeing it difficult to stay at home, the only way to prevent the disease is stopping the movement of people for a while.

The disease has claimed the lives of many Sierra Leoneans, especially people in the Western Area. Even though many sensitizations have been done, yet people are not putting the sensitization messages into action. The president has more trust in people living in the Western Area in combating the disease, but it is now the Ebola hotspot because people are failing to put the numerous Ebola messages into action.

Humu Hawa Bangura – Resident of Newcastle Street, Kissy

As a Christian, I feel disappointed over missing the New Year’s Eve service, but because it is as a result of eradicating the Ebola disease, I have no problem with it. Since the president has declared a ban on people moving from district to district to spend time with family members in the provinces, it is a good idea because overcrowding of people in places is an easy way to transfer the virus from one person to another.

I am appealing to Sierra Leoneans to adhere to the message and also to stop hiding sick people in their homes, and to report every sick case to 117 for us to have a peaceful country and let us be Ebola free by next year.

Abu Bakarr Sidiq Sesay – Civil Servant

We are fighting together to achieve the same goal in eradicating the deadly Ebola virus out of the country. The virus is killing people every day because of negligence and it is high time for government to put strict measures, especially in the three Ebola hotspots – Western Area, Port Loko and Bombali districts. These places are like any other district, but they are the ones failing to put the Ebola messages into action. As long people fail to use the right measures in preventing the disease, the more it will destroy the lives of people.

I am calling on the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Sierra Leone Police to enforce stringent measures throughout the celebration in the festive season.

Jatu Bangura – Chairlady, Abacha Street traders

I am very pleased with President Koroma’s robust actions to combat the Ebola virus. We appreciate him, I have told my colleague chairladies to monitor their subjects so that they will pack their wares before 6pm.

In any nation, after God it’s the president. We just have to obey with no grudge or malice. It is for the good of all of us. This disease has killed over 2,000 compatriots, mainly in the Western Area, so if these measures can help prevent the spread of the virus then we are more than ready to welcome the idea.

We are praying that we succeed in this fight as the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has gone a long way in fighting the virus. But the bulk of the responsibility rests on all of us to stop the spread of the disease.

I am calling on all Sierra Leoneans to pray fervently at home during this festive season, instead of going around the beach areas.