The Executive Director of Fambul Tok International, John Caulker has stated that since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Kailahun one of their operational areas, work has only slowed down but has not stopped.
He made this statement yesterday in an interview with Awoko Newspaper.
John Caulker started by highlighting their operational areas in the country to include; Kailahun, Kono, Pujehun, Moyamba, Koinadugu and Bombali. He added that the outbreak initially affected Kissi Teng, one of their operational areas in the very first week that the disease broke out.
He furthered that as an organization they decided not to shut down their office but stay with the people and continue with work. He said they called a big town hall meeting that included Paramount Chiefs, Council Chairmen, Councillors, WHO representatives and senior staff of the US Embassy.
The Director maintained that the meeting was timely and relevant as the people of Kailahun didn’t know what was even going on as they thought the outbreak was a cholera outbreak. The meeting he said was a show of solidarity from the American Embassy because at that time everybody was withdrawing but they decided to go in and help the people of Kailahun.
He maintained that although the ban on community gathering had been declared by the government, work still goes though slowly. He added that initially when the disease broke out the organization bought hand sanitizers for their staff which he admitted was a mistake on their part as hand sanitizers do not prevent someone from catching the disease. He said they later developed an Ebola package for all their field staff to raise awareness against the disease.
He stressed that the disease is real and encouraged people to continue taking precautionary measures. The Director added that they have produced jingles in different languages and to be distributed in all their operational areas, warning people not to hide any victim that shows symptoms of the virus.
Caulker has disclosed that one major challenge they are facing as an organization, is that the only community bank in the district has closed down and as such they are finding it very difficult to support their staff with resources.
By Nancy Koroma
Thursday July 24, 2014