Psychosocial counseling absent in quarantined homes


- HRC Chairperson

OCTOBER 2, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

CONCERNED ... HRC-SL Chairperson, Brima Abdulai Sheriff
CONCERNED … HRC-SL Chairperson, Brima Abdulai Sheriff

Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has expressed concern that most quarantined homes they visited across the country were bereft of psycho-social counseling.

In an exclusive interview with Concord Times at his Tower Hill office in Freetown, Brima Abdulai Sheriff opined that people under quarantine undergo traumatic effect and as a result, one way to get them relaxed is through counseling.

According to him, those in quarantined homes across the country are not stabilized and when they are not, they will be making demands that are unrealistic.

“In all the quarantined homes we visited, psychosocial counseling was absent. If those quarantined are not stabilized they will be making demands that are unrealistic,” he said.

The HRC-SL chief also spoke about the need to provide specialized attention for children in quarantined homes across the country, and the late delivery of food, although he said such issues are being taken care of by the government and its partners.

Commenting on the Commission’s monitoring of the three-day ‘Ose-to-Ose Ebola Tok’, Commissioner Sheriff explained that their monitoring of the whole exercise was divided into two: compliance and responsibility.

He said they observed that emergency response towards Ebola and non-Ebola cases was a major challenge, but maintained that to a very large extent the people complied with the lockdown.

“Emergency response in terms of the 117 toll free line, burial teams, surveillance, picking up of [dead] bodies and also collecting suspected [Ebola] cases was a major challenge. If we are able to respond quickly to cases of Ebola, then we will be able to contain the spread of the disease in our society,” he said.

Mr. Sheriff further pointed out that the morale of staff in the various hospitals they visited during the lockdown was “very high”, although at the time of their visit incentives to especially some of the frontline health workers were not available.