January 23, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma yesterday urged members of the Sierra Leone Police Wives Association, especially those leaving in barracks across the country, to serve as watchdogs and bring out cases of Ebola to the fore.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening of a training on prevention and control of Ebola organized by the China Centres for Disease Control for 100 police wives, Mrs. Koroma stated that Freetown residents in particular were initially ashamed to report signs and symptoms of Ebola when they were sick, as they refused going to the hospital.
She encouraged wives of policemen to promote the idea of ‘avoid bodily contact and people’s compound’ because, according to her, the barracks where most of them live are congested and thus pose a high risk of infection.
“You are example of discipline because your husbands are in the police force. Serve as watchdogs of society for Ebola cases. Your husbands are at the frontline of the fight, which makes them to be high risk people. They can be affected or infected directly and indirectly and so you need information and knowledge,” she said. “Make sure your toilets and latrines are clean because they are places of transmission.”
Madam Koroma also urged them to make sure that those who have survived the Ebola virus are welcome in their homes and to avoid pointing fingers and provocation because the virus can infect anyone it comes into contact with.
The First Lady thanked the government and people of China for their invaluable support to Sierra Leone since the start of the Ebola outbreak, adding that apart from training police wives, China has also provided beds, ambulances, motorcycles, incinerators and personal protective gears, as well as mobile and fixed laboratories.
“Education and training are important tools for battling Ebola, and therefore the training provided to the Sierra Leone Police Wives Association members is timely. Let me encourage participants to return to your communities, ready to work without fear, because you have received the relevant and needed training and education,” Madam Koroma urged.
Also speaking, wife of the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mao Xuehong, stated that as a true friend, her country shares the same sad feeling with Sierra Leoneans as a result of the Ebola scourge.
She noted that though China is geographically far away, they wasted no time to send eight (8) chartered planes to provide emergency assistance to Sierra Leone.
“Training on Ebola prevention and control, which is jointly conducted by China CDC and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, is a very important part of our all-round support to Sierra Leone. Nearly 4,000 workers, trainers and social volunteers have been trained. Women are at the center of caring for their homes and so in the Ebola crisis, they are the easily-affected people because they take care of their sick family members,” she said.
On his part, Deputy Director-General of China CDC, Xiaofeng Liang, explained that two sets of training groups from China have been conducting training on Ebola prevention and control in Sierra Leone, and that according to plans, they are to train 4,000 community councillors and activists.
“The goal of our training is to improve the knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practice of people in responding to Ebola. They will be empowered with knowledge and skills and return to their community to conduct social mobilization and peer education,” he said and disclosed that they have already launched the Intensified Training Project for Ebola Response (ITERP) at Jui, Kossoh Town and Grafton, respectively.