By Jariatu Bangura
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo, yesterday told members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Health that there is a zero case of Ebola infection in the country.
Dr. Kargbo told curious Committee members that blood samples of a 14-year-old boy who allegedly got infected with the deadly virus while on a visit in Guinea and subsequently died upon his return to Buedu in Kailahun district, and fifteen of his relatives, showed no traces of the deadly virus after laboratory test at the Kenema government hospital.
He said the ministry has set up a response team headed by Minister of Health, Ms. Miatta Kargbo. The team has sub-committees which investigate suspected cases of the virus, conduct surveillance and spearhead laboratory tests, as well as embark on preventive measures.
He said the ministry has created means of raising awareness among communities and has alerted district medical officers in border areas to be proactive in their response to any suspected case of Ebola.
He said the ministry has developed Ebola messages which are being disseminated to health workers and community members, and that meetings are being held with religious groups, commercial bike ‘Okada’ riders and motor drivers, in a bid to disseminate preventive health messages to the public, especially commuters.
He warned citizens to minimise their travels to affected areas in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.
Earlier, chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Mabinty Fornah said as representatives of the people, they should be involved in awareness raising measures aimed at preventing the dreadful disease from infiltrating the country, such as through community meetings with their constituents.
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She said with trepidation that since the outbreak of the epidemic in neighboring Guinea, more than 50 persons have died, while the disease has spread to Liberia, noting that they are concerned that the deadly virus might affect Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, six people have reportedly been affected by the disease in Sierra Leone, while five have died, although there have been no official confirmation.