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To combat future epidemic…

Health officials urge non-formal education

June 12, 2015 By Samuel Ben Turay

Officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation have urged government to introduce non-formal education in educational institutions and at community level across the country, a development they say could help tackle any future epidemic.

In a meeting at the Central Medical Stores at New England in Freetown Tuesday, Health Education Division Programme Manager, Lansana Conteh, opined that the best way to confront future epidemic is basic education about diseases in local languages.

He said the Health Ministry plans to sell the idea of non-formal education to their counterparts in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. He said community resistance to undertaking secret burial of Ebola victims was as a result of the illiteracy.

“The government has embarked on sensitization all over the country about the dangers of the Ebola virus, but people are still not listening,” said Conteh, adding that control efforts in all the three countries have been disrupted by community resistance.

He said community resistance arose from the inability of ambulance and burial teams to respond quickly to calls for help, with bodies sometimes left in the communities for hours and even days.

He said burials performed by military personnel have been safe and efficient but not always dignified, a taboo in a culture that observes ancestral mourning rites and is accustomed to washing bodies of loved ones before they are buried in their finest clothes in marked graves.

“The commonest way in which people are getting Ebola is through the rituals that take place when somebody is buried, particularly the important cleansing and touching that goes on,” he said.

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