Sequel to rapid increase of Ebola infection and death in the Kailahun District several indigenes of Njaluahun Chiefdom Kailahun District on Sunday 8th June 2014, blamed the government for levity over the situation. At a meeting organized by the Hon. Abu Jajua of Kailahun representing Constituency 07, at the National Stadium in Freetown, Njaluhun people vehemently condemned the transfer of affected Ebola cases all the way to Kenema City contrary to what their MP earlier proposed. The people said the government was not really treating the issue of Ebola as compared to the dreadfulness of the disease. According to them the epidemic needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness pointing out that even when the disease was initially confirmed in Koindu instead of taking a strong position some government officials started trivializing it and even went ahead to insult or blame the victims. Several Kailahun residents said when the Special Executive Assistant to President Koroma, Dr. Sylvia Blyden tried to bring the attention of the whole country in order to galvanize support, other government officials and some media gurus went on the rampage to not only insult her but to ridicule her.
In his statement, a member of the Njauluahun Descendants Association, Mr. James Momoh said regarding the dreadful nature of the heinous disease it was wrong to travel with the patients to Kenema adding that transportation will also cause it to spread in that city. He therefore recommended for a special center to be constructed at Daru rather than spreading the disease in the Kenema City. He said it was saddening that medical officials are the highest victims comparing the record of death of infectious health personnel, while speculating that most of them who contacted the disease were not using safety gears. He also blamed the Ministry of Health for complicating the educative messages on Ebola adding that if you tell someone that if he had the disease he will die even at initial stage then he or she will prefer to stay at home and die.
Even though Hon. Jajua tried to explain the reasons why the decision was taken to transfer patients to Kenema; the sophisticated nature and advanced facilities present at the Kenema Laser Department, all the speakers kicked against the proposal.
Giving an overview of the meeting Julius I. K. Foday said the meeting was organized for the people of Njauluahun to brainstorm and proffer solutions that will help to mitigate or contain the disease.
According to him Ebola is the most heinous disease of the 21st Century. He disclosed that when the disease was first reported in DRC Congo in the 1970s several villages were destroyed in less than few months. He stated that the disease was first reported in Guinea and Liberia and just two week ago it was reported in Koindu along the Liberia/Guinea Border. He said due to the surprise and levity of the government the Ebola disease has spread rapidly especially in Daru Jawie Chiefdom Kailahun District.
Hon. Patrick Foyah of Constituency 01 Kaialuhun District said Ebola outbreak was a national and global concern so it was very timely to campaign against it drastically in order to save the lives of the Kailahun people. He said the people of Sierra Leone especially in Kailahun still believe that the disease is not real but the trend at which the Ebola cases are now recorded is very alarming. He disclosed that some of the victims are refusing to come for test or treatment in Kenema. According to him owning to the percentage at which medical personnel are becoming affected with the disease many health centers have been closed. He said the interaction of our people and the ignorance of the disease are contributing immensely to its rapid spread.
Member of the Brain of Segbwema, Sauliho Sheriff said the reality of the disease needs to be explained to their people. He stated that initially when the outbreak started people were seriously politicizing it. In his statement Hon. Abu Jajua said he had done several sensitizations on social aspect of the Ebola Disease taking into cognizance the proximity between Njaluahun and Guinea where the outbreak was first reported. According to him when the Ebola outbreak was first reported in Koindu and those who took it with all seriousness were molested and insulted at some quarters. He went on “Some people even politicized it instead of putting hands on deck and contain the outbreak. The disease is very risky let us advise our people to reduce movement for now” He said some students of Njaluahun are currently sensitizing the people of that chiefdom about the risk of Ebola.
According to him, it has been confirmed that the Kenema Government Hospital is the best for Hemorrhagic Fever including Laser and Ebola so referral was necessary.
In his contribution Mbaimba Abdulai Koroma said the Ebola outbreak was undermining the development of Kailahun and therefore suggested to the district political leaders to take the lead. He said the disease has the tendency to wipe off large inhabitants and the rate at which it was spread merely shows that government was not so serious about it. The Government is now spreading it to Kenema.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.