More 90 days period of enhanced surveillance
November 9, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
President Koroma declearing end of Ebola
World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday 7th November 2015 declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in the Country and noted that Sierra Leone would now move into a new phase of 90 days enhanced surveillance that will run until 5th February, 2015.
In his declaration, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Anders Nordstrom continued that the new phase would be critical as it will focus on a resilient zero and that the country would detect and respond to any potential Ebola flare up.
Dr. Nordstrom further that the country recorded the first Ebola case on 24 May, 2014 and that a total number of eight thousands, seven hundred and four (8,704) people were infected with three thousands, five hundred and eighty-nine (3,589) losing their lives, including two hundred and twenty-one (221) healthcare workers.
“The world had never faced an Ebola outbreak of this scale of magnitude and the world has neither seen a nation mobilizing its people resources than Sierra Leone. The power of the people is the reason why we could put an end to this outbreak,” he stated.
According to him, under the leadership of the Sierra Leonean government, an effective response was initiated to manage the outbreak.
Dr. Nordstrom added that the use of rapid response teams and strong community involvement to identify new cases early and quickly to stop any Ebola virus transmission should continue to be the cornerstone of the national response strategy.
“WHO will maintain and enhance staff presence in Sierra Leone as the response transitions from outbreak control, to support enhance vigilance and to recovery of essential health services”, he noted.
In his keynote address, President Ernest Bai Koroma stated that during the start of the Ebola outbreak, thirty-five thousand Sierra Leoneans were formally registered as Ebola workers and that form the basis of the strong response built in the fight.
“I have discussed with Members of Parliament to end the state of emergency and I have also called on the Attorney General to have immunity on those who come into conflict with the law during the outbreak. Ebola survivors are our hero and we will continue to support them,” he assured.
Also, Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh said NERC was extraordinary in it response to the outbreak.
“As we break against discrimination against survivors, I therefore called on male survivors to continue to practice safe sex, so that they can protect their families and communities. We must also continue to practice our hygiene in our communities”, he said.
On his part, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah showered praises on NERC for helping the ministry in ending the Ebola virus, noting that even though many frontline healthcare workers lost their lives, the country was now boasting of free Ebola.
He also thanked the international healthcare workers for their effort in the fight and sympathized with family members who lost their loved ones during the outbreak.