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Zero Ebola campaign targets ‘carelessness’

- says NERC CEO

March 30, 2015 By Patrick J. Kamara

Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) yesterday reckoned that the zero Ebola campaign which starts tomorrow will focus mainly on identifying all Ebola cases and fighting against carelessness in the country.

Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh told a presser at NERC headquarters in Freetown that teams from the Ministry of Health and community members would be going round to every household, in especially high transmission areas, to encourage people to report anyone showing signs of fever or illness in order that they could get treatment and be tested for the Ebola virus.

He opined that “carelessness” is one of the major setbacks in the fight against the disease, and that dignified burials, reporting illness or basic routines like hand-washing have been lacking while the disease is still in the country.

According to the NERC CEO, the work of the health teams during the three days (27-29 March) sit-at-home will be to remind every individual of the lapses in the middle of the fight, while they distribute bars of soap to households to encourage hand-washing across the country.

“The campaign is not a ‘lockdown’ but one that will encourage people to stay at home over the weekend and reflect on the dreaded virus. It will look at measures that will tackle the disease,” he said and added that even though the country has recorded good progress in the fight, more needs to be done to have zero new infection.

The NERC boss warned members of the public not to risk reversing progress by going back to old practices as now is the best time for everyone to tighten their belts to defeat the disease and go back to normal practices.

“The campaign will target mainly the Western Rural and Urban Areas, Port Loko and Kambia districts because they have been the main places for the new confirmed cases,” he said in a statement.

Since the start of the outbreak in May 2014, the virus has infected over 8,000 and killed more than 3,200 people in the country. Kailahun district, which recorded the first case of Ebola, has gone for over 100 days without a new case.

The stay-at-home is third such measure by the government as it grapples with ending the outbreak which has all but put paid to socio-economic activities, although schools have tentatively re-opened this week for pupils that will be writing external examinations.

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