OCTOBER 23, 2014
Thirty-six (36) survivors of the Ebola virus disease, including 26 females and 10 males from Kenema, Kailahun, Pujehun and Bo districts, have been honoured at a two-day survivors conference held at the St. Mathew’s Hall, Holy Trinity Parish in Kenema.
Organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, the conference aimed at bringing together Ebola survivors, and mapping out a strategy against stigmatization with a view to providing humanitarian support for their livelihood and dignity.
Delivering his opening statement, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai, described the day as another milestone in the history of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, adding that the disease has affected every facet of development in the country.
He said that as a country and people, “we manifested resilience during 11 years of civil strife”, and that “the current crisis demands the collective efforts of every Sierra Leonean”.
He said the country is facing the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak in the history of the world, as about 2,800 people have been infected in all the 14 districts of Sierra Leone, although more than 560 have survived.
The Social Welfare Minister told his audience that they were celebrating an occasion to demonstrate support for Ebola survivors. He said he was hopeful that the conference would create space where survivors can dialogue freely with each other and with service providers, and to share experiences about their ordeals.
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Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister 1, Foday Sawi, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Social Welfare and other partners, including UNICEF, for making the Survivors’ Conference a big success.
He described the conference as timely, adding that it would articulate strategic policies dealing with the Ebola crisis in relation to the future of the survivors and challenges ahead.
Mr. Sawi said the ministry appreciates the great sacrifices by doctors, nurses and other workers in the frontline of the Ebola war, adding that their hard work and sacrifice would be rewarded for posterity.
He consoled survivors, many of whom have also lost their loved ones and family members, and enjoined them to be thankful to the Almighty God for spearing their lives.
Deputy Mayor of Kenema, Esther Guanya Kai-Samba, commended government and development partners for their relentless efforts in fighting and containing the Ebola virus disease.