Government has budgeted $1.3million to carry out the house to house family sensitization on Ebola that will be conducted from the 19th to the 21st September 2014, countrywide.
Director of Communication Sidi Yahah Tunis, at the Health Ministry, told Journalists yesterday at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists daily press briefing on Ebola, that Government will provide $700,000 (Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars) while UNICEF will provide the remaining funds.
The Director added that the money will be used to buy 1.5 million bars of soap which will be distributed during the exercise, recruitment and training of the teams.
The exercise will target 21,408 people constituting 7,000 teams including a medical personnel, civil society and community member, who will be moving from house-to-house in every household in the country.
Tunis said that the three-day exercise is to dialogue with family members and give correct information to families and Ebola affected people to build confidence in them and also create neighbourhood teams.
He said that the exercise has the tendency to increase the number of cases….”we are expecting 15% to 20% surge in the number of cases”
As a result of this, he said the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will increase isolation centres in the country and protective gears for health facilities.
He also said there will be possibility for the Committee to use existing structures like schools as isolation centres for suspected Ebola cases, adding that the Jui hospital and the Police Hospital in Kingtom, will be used as isolation centres.
Deputy Minister of Political Affairs, Karamoh Kabba, said “we have almost equal infection cases across gender lines but young people in the age bracket of 15-49 are the most affected by the Ebola virus. More than 700 young people have contacted the virus out of the 1,000 infected persons between May 23- August 27 2014”.
He added that the reasons may be that young people are the most willing people in the bad business of running off with their sick parents, adding that they are also the most socially charged people with increased chances of contacting the virus.
“As a government, we beseech you to fight harder because; this startling revelation means that Ebola is after our most productive population. Ebola is a killer of young people”.
He said that for those children whose parents are victims of the disease, there are structures in place between the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affiars and Save the Children to take care of them.
Kabbah noted that Ebola is a killer which can be prevented and in our efforts to prevent the Ebola and kick it out of Sierra Leone “we must be united in the effort”.
The Deputy Minister reiterated that “the President has been relentless in his bilateral, multilateral and global engagements all aimed at drawing the attention of the international community to our plight.
He added that to inject steroids into the fight on Ebola and make it more robust, government has procured 30 mini vans locally to hasten the removal of bodies.
Karamoh Kabba noted that the government has also received 16 brand new ambulances out of 20 which have been immediately rolled into the fight against the Ebola.
The Deputy Minister reiterated that government has appointed a renowned and experienced social scientist, as the Chief of Emergency Operations of the EOC. Plans are underway to roll in 12 deputy ministers into the fight against the Ebola to provide political will and leadership around the country.
By Abibatu Kamara
Wednesday September 10, 2014