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‘It’ll take hard work to end Ebola’

...CDC chief warns

DECEMBER 18, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi

CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden
CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden

Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that only hard work, resilience and collaborative efforts will help put a final halt to the deadly Ebola disease that continues the ravage the lives of Sierra Leoneans since the outbreak hit the country some seven months ago.

Dr. Tom Frieden, however, said he was encouraged by the response of the government of Sierra Leone and its partners in putting mechanisms in place to contain the epidemic.

The CDC boss was speaking yesterday at a press conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown where he noted that “time is of essence for sick people to quickly go for medical examination” if they notice signs and symptoms of the Ebola disease.

He said there was need for those infected with the virus to be immediately taken to holdings or treatment centres in order to break the chain of transmission which, according to him, was one of the surest ways of containing the disease.

“We need to ensure that if anyone dies from Ebola he or she is safely buried without anybody touching their bodies,” admonished Dr. Frieden. “Ebola is also revealing the challenges. We already now have a much stronger laboratory neigh work that has ever existed in Sierra Leone, and this facility cannot only be used for Ebola but other contagious diseases. There is now a strong surveillance team.”

He continued: “This has given the opportunity for Sierra Leone to learn from Guinea and Liberia in fighting the disease. I can’t predict when the cases will go down but I am confident that within the next several weeks we will see the cases reducing. We can come together to rapidly respond to the fight. Sierra Leone, West Africa and the world in general need to put out with Ebola.”

Dr. Frieden noted that if Sierra Leone can get rapid response to quickly intervene into communities and identify the cases, it will give the needed boost the country requires to defeat the virus. The CDC, he added, has got a larger operation in Sierra Leone than in Liberia.

“In terms of the [U.S.] Department of Defence, their role in Liberia was to build treatment units, isolation centres and laboratories, and that role is being adequately covered here. So I don’t see the need for that kind of operation here,” he concluded.

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