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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone News: Ebola hits Mambolo, Kambia as Kailahun Weeps from its Effects
By Correspondents in Kambia, Kailahun & Freetown
Jun 9, 2014, 12:18
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The much dreaded Ebola disease which has been ravaging the people of eastern Kailahun district is now confirmed to have moved up to the northern town of Mambolo in the Kambia district where there are two confirmed Ebola cases and ten other persons having blood samples collected from them as possibly infected with Ebola.

This was disclosed on Sunday 8th June 2012 to Awareness Times in Kambia by Mr. Hassan Kanu of Kambia District Health Management Team (DHMT) of the Ministry of Health & Sanitation.


Mr. Hassan Kanu who is the Disease Surveillance Officer for Kambia district and the Ministry’s official spokesperson for Kambia told Awareness Times that a certain driver was recently doing assignment in Koindu, Kissi Teng chiefdom of Kailahun and upon his return to his residence in Mambolo town of Kambia, he later developed symptoms of Ebola. Shortly after, the wife of the driver also developed symptoms of Ebola and when their blood samples were sent to be checked by the Mambolo paramedics, they both proved positive as infected with Ebola. The two (driver and wife) are now isolated for treatment in Kenema.


According to competent Kambia sources, there are now concerns that the driver might have also transferred the infection to the fishing islands of Yeliboya and Kortimoh because he was known to have also been recently involved in transporting fish for people from those islands.


However, Hassan Kanu said ten contacts of the Ebola infected duo of Mambolo, have had blood samples drawn from them which have now been sent to Kenema Ebola laboratories for testing.


Kambia District Medical Officer has over this past weekend led a team from Kambia town into Mambolo town to raise awareness and sensitise the residents on the dangers of Ebola.

It can be recalled that a devastating outbreak of Ebola in Kailahun was poorly managed when the news first broke. Carelessness has now led to widespread infection of residents in the Kissi chiefdoms bordering neighbouring countries of Liberia and Guinea as well as another major Kailahun locality known as Jawei chiefdom whose headquarters of Daru town and its surrounding villages have been particularly hit by the illness.


Madam Miatta Kargbo poses with Kawusu-Konte, 1 of 3 State House staff whom, as Kailahun citizens lay dying, mocked around on Facebook about what was laughed and joked to be discussed as a so-called ‘Human Ebola’

The infection and widespread deaths in Kailahun have left traditional rulers, honourable parliamentarians and ordinary residents weeping and wailing. The wife and children of the Paramount Chief of Jawei, P.C. Musa Ngoumbuklah Kallon II have been admitted as they are very sick with the Ebola virus. The two wives of a key traditional ruler, the Section Chief of a section located just 6 miles from Daru, have also been infected as have many other residents of the chiefdom. In one village alone, an entire family has been wiped out.


The Honourable Parliamentarian for neighbouring Constituency 07 (Segbwema), Hon. Abu Jajua, has lost his sister who died from Ebola infection. The sister was a Maternal & Child Healthcare (MCH) nurse who had been amongst those treating late Nurse Messie Konneh, another MCH nurse from Koindu, Kissi Teng.


Nurse Konneh had been infected with Ebola in Koindu and in a glaring sign of failure of the Health Ministry, the poor nurse, with symptoms of Ebola, was not tested for Ebola but was left in the border town of Koindu until her condition totally deteriorated. At this point, her husband, Sheku Konneh was summoned from Daru to take her from Koindu and try to provide better medical check-up than what was available in Koindu.


Not knowing his wife was infected with Ebola, Mr. Sheku Konneh brought her for treatment to Bombohun in Jawei and then from Bombohun, on the way to Kenema from Daru, the poor nurse died. Innocently, still not informed it could be Ebola, her corpse was washed & prepared for burial by her mother, sisters & other women. All these women have since died from Ebola. The mother of Nurse Konneh, her sisters and the husband, Sheku Konneh have all died from Ebola.

Furthermore, Jawei health staff who treated late Messie Konneh, have all now died or are said to be in critical condition from Ebola.


According to Charles Mambu of the civil society organisation known as Health For All Coalition, up to 70% of those who have died from Ebola in recent days, have been frontline staff of Ministry of Health & Sanitation. Paramedics like  Aruna Kallon, the Community Health Officer in charge of Daru and Jawei Chiefdom of Constituency 06, has painfully died from the Ebola he contacted from Nurse Messie Konneh. Similarly, unconfirmed but highly credible reports indicate that some one dozen of Health Ministry’s nursing staff & birth attendants  in Kailahun, have to date, been infected with Ebola.


Awareness Times can confirm that despite the fact that Ebola was known to be raging in Guinea and also found in neighbouring Liberia, the Health Ministry did not send protective clothing to many of our hardworking MCH nurses and paramedics in Kailahun.


Furthermore, the Rapid Response Diagnostic Test Kits for Kailahun district which would have helped in differential diagnosis to eliminate non-Ebola conditions, had EXPIRED since March 2014.


It can be recalled that when the news first broke that Ebola had hit Sierra Leone, the Minister of Health & Sanitation, Madam Miatta Kargbo, in a callous show of insensitivity, had publicly blamed the dead victims as having caused their deaths by not listening to what she said were the orders she gave to citizens about how to avoid contacting Ebola. However, with the deaths from Ebola of so many innocent nursing and paramedic staff in Kailahun, dying for lack of protective gears, it is unclear right now as to whom Minister Miatta Kargbo will blame for the deaths of so many of her ministry’s innocent health care staff in Kailahun district.


This newspaper can also confirm that since the outbreak, the Ministry is yet to transform the Koindu Community Health Center into a Field Hospital. Rather, folks of Kissi Kingdom have been all but abandoned by Ministry of Health and Sanitation. The ministry is claiming they have not built the proposed MSF Isolation tents because Koindu folks are stoning their vehicle out of town. However, this newspaper can confirm that the place where the ministry’s vehicle got stoned, was Korosur village and not Koindu. The ministry’s insensitiveness to locals deaths plus glaring lack of proper sensitisation of those areas about Ebola, led to that singular incident. Truthfully, implications of this abandonment of the Kissi Kingdom chiefdoms, are enormous.


As has been displayed with the new emergence of Ebola infection in Mambolo, up Kambia, the fact is that no area of Sierra Leone is safe from an Ebola epidemic if  Kissi people continue to be left abandoned.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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