Civil society meets on post-Ebola plan


March 12, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

With support from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEP), the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) – in collaboration with Civil Society Movement-Sierra Leone (CSM-SL) – yesterday held a one-day consultative meeting on developing a civil society post-Ebola recovery plan.

According to the organisers, the meeting was to develop strategies for structured and coordinated civil society post-Ebola engagement in Sierra Leone, with intent to create a platform for civil society organisations to reflect and to do critical analysis of their diverse efforts towards containing the Ebola virus disease.

Making a statement during the meeting, Executive Director of NMJD, Abu Brima, stated that the meeting brought together civil society actors from across the country that have been engaged in the fight against the Ebola virus, to critically reflect and analyse the extent of the impact of the outbreak on all spheres of life in the country and to develop strategic plans on how best the post-Ebola recovery programme could mitigate these impacts.

He said they were planning for post-Ebola recovery and they wanted to contribute more effectively in the post-Ebola process, noting that they have partnered with the government in various chiefdoms and districts across the country in the fight against the deadly disease.

Mr. Brima observed that the virus has caused many difficulties in the lives of Sierra Leoneans, including economically, socially and educationally, and that the meeting would help discover how CSOs would contribute to improve on the lives of citizens to ensure that some of the problems they encountered during the outbreak were ameliorated.

He continued that the speed with which the virus spread from an isolated outbreak in Kailahun, Kambia, Port Loko, Bombali and Kenema to every corner of the country was a clear testament to how poorly-equipped the country’s health sector was.

“A lot has been done by government, its partners, individuals and groups in the fight to contain the disease, and today the health sector has seen immeasurable development,” he noted.

United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response Field Crisis Adviser, Dr. Francis Kaikai, stated that they are in the country to fight against the deadly Ebola virus, and thus called on civil society groups to pay more attention on the fight against the virus.

He said out of 14 districts only Bombali, Kambia and Port Loko are at present recording more cases of Ebola while the remaining districts are now recording zero case, noting that the country now has the required health facilities with enough treatment centres, ambulances and beds to tackle the virus.

He said they are working with government and CSOs to ensure the country is free of Ebola, and urged the government to strengthen basic service delivery, structured coordination with those who are supposed to be part of efforts to eradicating the virus.

Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department at Fourah Bay College, Mrs. Memunatu Pratt, made a presentation on the socio-economic impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease on the country.

The session was chaired by the SLTU Secretary General, Davidson Kuyateh.