Hey, hold it; this is not a Harry Bella Fonte’s song but issues around our very survival.
It is only a man who wants to lie who says his witness is in heaven.
We all know even our Men of God are not crazy about dying and going to heaven.
With our Ebola issue, there are no more lies and denials, except of course for those of our compatriots, whose ignorance, poverty and buffoon levity have all combined to ruin their mentality.
I am sorry but we continue to exhibit so much ignorance that one wonders what is happening to this tiny seemingly God damned nation!
Look at that Press release in plain simple English which the bulk of our compatriots even in Freetown could not understand.
We are told our literacy rate is about 40 % but I doubt if this figure is not really bloated! You might be grinding inside and saying that I could well be another unpatriotic guy…well hell No! Reserve your warped patriotism that only takes us two steps forward and three staggering steps backwards.
Let me make something clear from the onset. This Ebola issue should not be seen from an ethnic, geographical or political standpoint.
It is the survival of an impoverished nation that is vulnerable to many things including any disease.
This writer hails from Kailahun North that is at the boundary with Kono District. At the moment, my chiefdom is Ebola-free, thanks to the long abandonment of the only road in the 60s and early 70s to Kono. That road goes from Kenema through Bunumbu to Koidu town. Because of the terrible road, it is not fun to travel that way to Kono.
Once on a while, they use motorbikes, otherwise stay where they are for as long as their food stock and other necessities can last.
You remember NASMOS of NPRC fame? I mean the National Social Mobilization Secretariat which was the hub of social and youth and Programs countrywide. This very popular establishment popularized the slogan: Grow what you eat, eat what you grow.
Just last Friday night, calls and texts were being sent all over the place asking people to heat water, put salt in it and wash with it to prevent Ebola. They say it was a revelation from Kenema. Some even said it was from Nigeria! Do you see where Ebola is leading us? My family and others, did not adhere, as none of the callers could not answer our probing questions. You see gullibility is one great bane in a prominently ignorant community.
One night someone will tell us to go outside our homes and pray in the nude. I wonder how many of these revelations we have to be overburdened with before we overcome Ebola.
One major thread in all the processes for managing the Ebola epidemic is distrust. Because for long, people in public offices have time and time again have brazenly misappropriated public funds that now they can hardly be trusted.
One remedy for this is for Government to decentralize and deconcentrate functions and resources as much as possible.
We are told that only Koinadugu and Kambia are Ebola free. With this, there is no way you can arrange everything from Freetown. Check the constitution of some of our commissions and national committees. Ebola is now almost everywhere. So I do not see why suspected cases are still moved from Freetown all the way to Kailahun. Why not get treatment centers at least at Regional level?
On the issue of denial, I think we should find ways in which suspected cases and confirmed ones are interviewed for other people to hear.
Journalists could be given the clothing to protect himself or herself. Hearing the voices of people under observation or treatment will make a whole difference. Imagine travelling with a confirmed case of Ebola all the way to Kailahun!
While we appreciate government’s constraints, we also think the issue is more prioritizing and management. What we are saying is pump everything into the fight against Ebola. When it is defeated, then we can turn our attention to other things. Aside from handling the Ebola directly, there are issues around the implementation of the Proclamation of the State of Emergency. They say that sickness in poverty is a major threat. There are real constraints in adherence of the State of Emergency.
A prominent one is avoiding gatherings of people. A lot of issues are not very clear here. One area people are asking about is Churches and Mosques, whether people should go there to pray. The last time an authority was on air saying that for him, crowd is 5 to 10 people gathered together.
To him it is implied that churches and Mosques are included. Because it is not still clear, people go to pray in those two religious places.
Now bikes do stop running at 7pm. Vehicles do not have that limitation. There limitation is reducing the passenger capacity. This is fair enough. We hear vehicles like buses including government buses still overloading. What do we do? It is indeed painful that Night Clubs, Video Centers have to close but it is a move in the right direction. I think the big question now is how do we prevent people touching in places like markets. Markets are so important that there is hardly any household that does not go to the market at least twice a week.
In fact, the poorer a family, the more likely they may go to the market in the sense that this category lives day by day, dreg today and cook today. Not buying for tomorrow because the money is not just there. This is why the ‘Monday Stay home Order’ took a lot of the poor families ill-prepared. Not that they did not know about the order but they could not adequately prepare for the day. Well, these are the sacrifices we have to make to combat Ebola.
A major suggestion; – I think the activities of herbalists, Bush Doctors and Traditional Healers should be stopped. The reason is that a lot of them stay right inside the city and treat all sorts of illnesses. Their activities expose population around them to all sorts of diseases including Ebola. What is strange about the traditional healers is that they are all general practitioners who claim to treat all illnesses. They always have many clients at a time and do stay with them for regular treatment.
If the so-called mushroom hospitals and clinics are to close, then the Herbalists should close with them.
One thing we can be sure of is to involve the Civil Society as much as possible. Like they say, when the state machinery is decrepit, one major hope is Civil Society.
By Ben Cambayma
Thursday August 14, 2014