President Ernest Koroma has disclosed that Government is disappointed with the manner in which the international community is handling, the present EBOLA crisis in the country.
He made this revelation during an unannounced visit to the World Health Organization (WHO) country office at Cantonment Road, in Freetown, where members of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) were holding meeting on the way forward in the fight against the Ebola virus.
Though the meeting was at its tail end, President Koroma patiently listened to statements from various stakeholders, including WHO, WFP, ONS and the UNFPA, as speaker after speaker explained how far they had gone to step-up both capacity and resources to help government eradicate and put a stop to the many untimely deaths in the country.
Responding in a rather sombre, but determined mood the first gentleman of the state, said since the 25th of May, when the first case of EBOLA was reported government in partnership with donors has been working tirelessly to arrest the killer virus, but much more needs to done, he stressed.
President Koroma maintained that though support is coming in to fight the disease, the International community needs to redouble its effort to do more, which will further accelerate the effort of health personnel and security apparatus to stop the killer virus.
He disclosed to the WHO country representative that in a telephone call with the U.N Secretary- General, he expressed his disappointment over the snail pace that resource support is moving to assist government.
However, he informed the WHO representative in the country that world’s number one man gave assurance that he will discuss with the WHO Director- General in order that things will move much faster to combat the deadly viral.
On the issue to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), Professor Monty Jones said the number of members should be reduced to ten technical members per centre, both at national and district level.
Also the minister of health and sanitation, Miatta Kargbo disclosed concerns raised by some of the foreign health experts, that there is too many interference by politicians in the operations of the EOC in the districts, and this she stressed is affecting their work.
On this issue the President, assured members of the EOC that he will take it up at another level to reduce interference whilst health personnel are carry out their various responsibilities in the field.
Concluding, donors pledged commitment and to raise more support to further compliment government’s effort, especially more support to frontline staff, orphans of EBOLA, more ambulance and mobile testing clinics, improved isolation centres including affected quarantined homes and communities.
By Ade Campbell
Wednesday August 13, 2014