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As Tony Blair visits WA Response Centre…

Coordinator promises robust action

NOVEMBER 12, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

Coordinator of Western Area Urban Response Centre, Ibrahim Soboniekeh-Sesay, has promised robust action to ensure the Ebola Virus Disease is contained in the Western Urban Area.

Sesay was speaking yesterday during a snap visit by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the Western Area Emergency Response Centre, housed at the British Council, Tower Hill.

The Western Area Emergency Response Centre comprises four pillars: the Dignified Burial Management, manned exclusively by military personnel, Live Case Management, Quarantined Management and Surveillance Alert.

The newly reconstituted Centre is tasked with enhancing efficiency in stemming the rate of new infections in the Western Area, which as at yesterday’s figures have recorded 1,469 cases.

According to Mr. Sesay, upon his appointment, after the dissolution of the Emergency Operation Centre, he brought all players in the Ebola fight under one roof for greater efficiency.

“The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) was originally having a burial team at this centre. The National Emergency Response Centre (NERC) decentralized operation by appointing district coordinators. As a coordinator, I brought all the pillars, including the ONS, police and the WFP in one centre and coordinate with them on a daily basis,” he said.

According to him, the entire Western Area had only four nutritionists, thus making the task of distributing food to quarantined homes challenging.

“That is now a thing of the past as I have increased the number to thirty-six with added vehicles to undertake food distribution in all quarantined homes across the Western Area. WFP was initially not coordinating their food distribution, but I have made sure that they have a representative at the Centre that coordinate with us,” he said.

He noted that all coordinators meet and discuss issues and report to the NERC on a daily basis, and that plans were underway to bring onboard Monitoring and Evaluation officers, who will be in the field to coordinate activities of field workers.

The Western Area Coordinator noted that some of the challenges they face in their daily operations include false 117 alerts by some unscrupulous people, and fear factor which lead people to run away from quarantined homes.

In his brief talks, the former British Prime Minister and friend of Sierra Leone noted that he was impressed with the mode of operations at the Centre and promised the British Government would do more to help contain and eradicate the dreaded Ebola Disease in the country.

Britain has recently stepped up support to Sierra Leone’s Ebola fight, deploying hundreds of troops and medics in the country, as well as building modern treatment centres, including one at Kerry Town, few kilometers outside Freetown, which has 300 beds.

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