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US$1.3m for 3-day ‘lockdown’

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah
Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah

Director of Communications in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation yesterday disclosed to newsmen that a total of US$1.3 million has been budgeted to sustain the planned three-day ‘lockdown’ of the country (19 to 21 September) to sensitize and educate the citizenry in their homes “with the right information” on the deadly Ebola virus.

Updating the media on the progress made so far in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in the country at the inaugural daily press briefing organised by the Communications Committee of the Presidential Task Force on Ebola at the SLAJ conference hall yesterday, Sidi Yayah Tunis stated that out of the said amount, the government will be providing US$700,000 with the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) making available the remainder of the budget.

He explained that because they are envisaging a 15% to 20% surge in the number of new infection cases during the ‘House-to-House Family Sensitization Campaign’, more isolation centers will be set up across the country.

“Health centers will be used as isolation centers but additional beds will be provided in those centers to accommodate more patients during the three days exercise,” he said, adding that the Western Area has been a disturbing trend based on confirmed cases for the past one-week in hotspot areas like Upper Bombay Street, Hill Cut Road, Lumley, Malama and Wilberforce.

“It is clear that we still have the disease with us as a result of new cases being recorded on a daily basis.”

Mr. Tunis further explained that the essence of the three-day ‘stay-at-home’ is to reach out to families to provide them with correct and accurate information on the disease, thereby increasing their confidence in the national efforts to stem the further spread of the disease.

He opined that the area of logistics will be beefed-up, especially the provision of personal protective gears (PPEs).

He disclosed that a total of 11 new confirmed cases were recorded on Monday 8 September with six coming from Kenema, two each in Pujehun and the Western Urban and one in Bo.

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