- President Koroma urges
JANUARY 7, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
President Ernest Bai Koroma has called on all Sierra Leoneans to strengthen their individual and collective resolve to defeat the Ebola virus disease, which has claimed the lives of 2,607 citizens, as at yesterday’s updates.
In his New Year’s address to the nation, President Koroma expressed his firm belief that a resolution by each and every Sierra Leonean to act to end the Ebola scourge would translate to defeat for the deadly virus very soon in the country.
“With firm resolutions from all Sierra Leoneans we will get ahead of the virus. The resolution must be action oriented and geared towards positive change. I am very sure that all Sierra Leoneans want this scourge to end and it is therefore time for all Sierra Leoneans to follow up their aspirations with their actions. These actions that are required have been stated over and over again,” he said.
President Koroma stressed that whatever they do as government, whatever support is given to the country by international partners to fight the disease, and however hard valiant doctors, nurses and other health personnel work to stem the disease, the fight would still be very difficult without resolutions by every individual, family and community to refrain from touching the sick and from touching, washing, and burying the dead.
According to him, people who go to Ebola Treatment Centers now have far better chances, than before, of surviving the disease, and that the remarkable doctors at the Hastings Treatment Centre are now making sure that most people who get admitted within three days of getting Ebola symptoms survive.
He maintained that with support from international partners, Sierra Leone has increased its capacity to defeat the virus, highlighting the increase in treatment and holding centers from one when the virus struck in May, to over 30, and from a single lab for testing suspected cases to over 10 countrywide.
“I know what we are being asked to do is very difficult. We are a people that have built our humanity on hugging each other, on shaking hands, caring for the sick and showing communal empathy by participating in funeral activities. But today the Ebola devil of illness and death hides in the innocent clothing of our culture to get us. That is why it is very necessary to suspend these cultural practices to defeat this evil virus,” he stated and added that suspending these practices for now does not reduce humanity, but rather its gives life to all.
President Koroma urged Sierra Leoneans to resist those who want to use the crisis to make money, score political points, or to cause mischief and disaffection in the land, and also expose those who don’t work but want to hide under the cover of those who work to get paid.
“There are people who are not involved in raising awareness about the disease, but who are raising funds to siphon unto selfish ends, we must bring these shameless crooks to book. Government agencies stand instructed to keep record of all Ebola related transactions for accountability now and a more thorough auditing of the process after we defeat this virus. We expect all international agencies, NGOs and Civil Society Organizations who have received the majority of funds to fight Ebola to have similar records for a thorough accounting of their actions,” he urged.