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NERC boss commends SLAJ

June 12, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

Chief Executive Officer of NERC, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh
Chief Executive Officer of NERC, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Palo Conteh, has commended the executive and membership of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on their contribution to the fight against the Ebola virus disease in the country.

He was speaking yesterday during the weekly NERC press briefing at the former Special Court building, Jomo Kenyatta Road, Freetown.

He said the just concluded SLAJ Annual General Meeting (AGM) opened their eyes to the reality of how much journalists have contributed to the fight against the Ebola outbreak in the country.

“This last 14 days have been a difficult and demanding period in the fight against Ebola especially after making such good progress in the previous weeks,” said Mr. Conteh. “Our success has not been achieved without great cost and I would like to pay tribute to the men, women and young people who risked their lives doing the unpleasant and dangerous work, without which we will not be able to beat Ebola.”

The NERC CEO said they have new challenges to overcome, and disclosed that they spent few days last week across the border in Guinea, where they held meetings with Guinean authorities as part of collaborative efforts to defeat Ebola.

“I can report that both Heads of State have reached an agreement on cross-border cooperation, which will be a great help in our bid to get to zero,” he stated.

He added that the standard operating procedures on burials have been a cornerstone in the fight to eradicate the virus, and that they would not have achieved current successes without them. “No matter how painful people find it, the standard operating procedures would remain in place until the virus is defeated,” he maintained.

Conteh noted that the issue of quarantine has been a topic of discussion, but people who have had to go through it recognize that it is an essential component of the Ebola response.

“We are always looking at ways in which to improve quarantine, not least to incentivize those in quarantine to remain. So this morning I chaired a meeting at which we gave detailed consideration into how quarantine is managed. We have agreed that in a number of areas there is scope for changes to be put in place for the benefit of those in quarantine and for the benefit of those living in the surrounding communities,” he added.

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