The role of local councils is crucial to success in the fight against Ebola, Makeni Mayor Sunkarie Kabba-Kamara told officials in Bombali District during their Task Force meeting.
Mayor Kabba-Kamara, responding to questions relating to the role of Local Councils in the fight against Ebola, highlighted contract tracing, monitoring and surveillance.
She said the role of Local Councils should be part of a well-structured plan that cuts across the national level to wards and to the chiefdom level. She added that even though mistakes had occurred by ignoring the Local Councils at the initial planning stage, the Councils were ready to work with Government to ensure that Ebola is defeated.
The Mayor said that Council officials are accountable to their constituents who elected them, and that they don’t want to sit by whilst their people suffer without giving them their support.
She said the Councils will work with Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to monitor the recruitment process at the chiefdom and district level so that the right people are recruited for the jobs of contact tracing and surveillance.
The Provincial Secretary-North, Raymond Sahr Gbindi, alleged that most of the contact tracers in the interior had gone to their farms, resulting in a loss of people from homes which had been quarantined in the district.
He said involvement by the Local Councils through their Ministry was a positive move, especially if councillors and ward committee members would themselves be used as contact tracers, monitors and informants in their respective locations.
Mr Gbindi said the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development had been in constant engagement with partners, so that in all districts the paramount chiefs, section chiefs, youth leaders, ward committee members and councillors were deeply involved in the fight against Ebola.
The Deputy Chairman of the Bombali District Council, John Ditto “JD” Kamara, said the success of the just-concluded three-day ‘Ose-to-Ose’ Ebola education initiative was as a result of the total involvement of Local Councils across the country. He said Councils had gone the extra mile in ensuring that their councillors and ward committee members took active roles in the campaign. He asserted that if better coordination and monitoring were necessary, then it had to be the task of the Local Councils, since they are well-established and grounded in their areas.
The Provincial Secretary urged his Senior District Officer to ensure that all Local Councils in the North submit lists of its members who will be involved in the second phase of contact tracing and surveillance activities in their respective districts, chiefdoms, wards and sections. He said the list will be forwarded to the Local Government Ministry for verification and approval.
By Mohamed Kabba
Tuesday September 30, 2014