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VOX POP

Citizens clamour for another lockdown

SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 With Patrick J. Kamara and Victoria Saffa

EOC Chief, Steven Gaojia
EOC Chief, Steven Gaojia

The just concluded three-day ‘Ose-to-Ose Ebola Tok’ to educate and sensitize the citizenry about what to do in order not to contract the deadly Ebola virus has been rated by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Ministry of Health and Sanitation officials and some civil society organizations as a great success because of the large number of dead bodies recovered and the number of confirmed Ebola cases discovered.

Concord Times’ ace reporters Patrick J. Kamara and Victoria Saffa took to the streets of Freetown to gauge people’s assessment of the three-day ‘sit-at-home’, and many people interviewed did not only describe the move as a prudent and laudable one, but also recommended for a longer shutdown of the entire country so that the disease could be contained once and for all.

Below is what they told Concord Times…

Alusine Corade Conteh, Councillor for Ward 355

I was very pleased with the three-day ‘sit-at-home’ initiated by the government and observed by Sierra Leoneans right across the country to provide us with the right education about the Ebola disease. To me, if this is the only way we can eradicate this deadly virus which has killed hundreds of our brothers and sisters, then so be it. I think there should be another stay-at-home, this time for a week to bring out the rest of the Ebola victims that had refused to come out during those three days.

During the last ‘sit-at-home’, many people who were keeping their sick patients at home brought them out so that they could seek early treatment. For instance, in my ward, over thirty (30) sick people were removed from their homes. So I wholeheartedly support the government in the fight against Ebola in the country.

Alimamy Kanu, Civil Servant

As a patriotic citizen that hopes to see an end to Ebola, the three-day ‘Ose-to-Ose Ebola Tok’ in my view was a great success. My only disappointment is that no health volunteer visited my home during those three days.

I want to thank the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Independent Radio Network (IRN) who did a good job by sensitising myself and my family through their syndicated radio program. If the government has any intention of declaring another lockdown, let there be strict control mechanisms on the prices of commodities, especially foodstuff. Business people should not be allowed to take advantage of the Ebola crisis by increasing the prices of commodities when there is absolutely no necessity for it.

I believe President Ernest Bai Koroma is under serious pressure to contain the spread of the disease, so we as citizens should complement the efforts of the government and other partners in eradicating this virus. I think another ‘sit-at-home’ will be highly welcomed by me.

Mariatu Sadiatu Sessey-Coker, Housewife

The maximum compliance by Sierra Leoneans during the three days exercise was a clear manifestation that we are law abiding people because throughout this exercise, everybody stayed home except for security personnel, utility service workers and healthcare staff. One thing I would like to bring to the notice of the government is that the volunteers recruited by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to work during those three days did not reach all the targeted communities and people.

However, if only it is by all of us staying home that will help eradicate the Ebola virus, then let the government declare another seven or 21 days ‘lockdown’. This disease has brought everything in the country to a standstill: schools remain closed, while night clubs and cinemas have been banned, among other social activities.

The last three days stay-at-home revealed a lot of things to us as a nation. The disease has clearly exposed the country’s ailing health care system due to its inability to respond to the outbreak. However, I am very grateful to the international community, especially the Chinese government, for their contribution towards the fight against the Ebola disease.

I am also calling on the government to apply for the ZMapp drug so that our compatriots afflicted by the Ebola virus could be cured.

M’balu Turay, Agent at Water Quay

I give thanks to God almighty for keeping me and my family safe throughout the three days stay-at-home. The government did well in supplying food and other items to slum communities though it was not enough. Many sick people were brought out during the three days exercise but what assurance can the medical people give to us that those sick people taken out of their homes will be adequately cared for both medically and otherwise.

I urge the government to give maximum care to sick people being observed at holding centers, and to declare another stay-at-home so that all those suspected of having Ebola could be isolated from the rest of the healthy population.

Alhaji Mohamed Tunkara, Student, Mass Comm., FBC

The lockdown was definitely a good move by the government because many things were brought to light about the disease. My recommendation is for the government to declare another stay-at-home so that we rid this nation of Ebola once and for all.

Yeah, the sensitisation team visited my house on the first day but to my greatest surprise, they didn’t deliver any soap to us. But to me, the message was more important because there had been a lot of misinformation and divergent messages going out about the disease. I now know that someone can contract the Ebola virus by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or by touching the body of a dead person.

We were told that by merely washing our hands with soap, one can prevent him or herself from contacting the virus.

Let me thank SLAJ and IRN for the role they played throughout the three days by sensitising people about the disease and what was going on in various communities across the country. This is a clear manifestation that all of us are fighting a common enemy which is Ebola, and we must defeat it in the shortest possible time.

Grace Macauley, Moa Wharf, Unemployed

This disease is invisible and very contagious. If asking all Sierra Leoneans to stay at home will help eradicate the disease, then let the government go ahead and declare another lockdown. This is a catastrophe that is also ravaging Liberia and Guinea in the sub-region. This is a national disaster and requires national effort to defeat it.

Some of us are even agitating for another stay home with additional days because the only way we can curb the spread of the disease is to restrict the movement of people from one household to the other, and from one community or township to the other.

Here in Moa Wharf, over fifteen sick people alongside a number of corpses were discovered.

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