By Hassan Bruz.(.Sierra Leone News Agency)….
His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma was in the North of the country over the weekend with a view to getting a first-hand information on the reasons for the escalating figures of Ebola related cases. He made his first stop in Port Loko and later proceeded to Bombali.
The message to all the places he visited is similar to the one he delivered to the People of Port Loko District. The fact is that these two Districts which are incidentally his home Districts, seemed to be computing in either fast tracking the spread of the Ebola Virus or in having a leading number of Ebola related death rates. The corresponding outcome for any of these aspects is retrogression and total frustration for one whose focus is to rebrand the country and create a general room of prosperity for even the common man in the country.
As he himself pointed out in his brief address to the People of Port Loko, it appeared that all the efforts done to help people treat the issue of Ebola with the deserved seriousness have fallen on deaf ears. So he was out this time around with an ultimatum to all Stakeholders. He simply called for them to consent with him in either withdrawing the Staff as in the case of Paramount Chiefs, or relieving one from his or position be you a Pastor, an Imam, a Youth or women ‘s Leader after 21 Days, should the spread of the Virus continues in a Locality.
The proposal of the President was subsequently endorsed by the Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs in the Port Loko District, PC Alhadji Kompa Bomboli of Koya Chiefdom. He attributed the reason for the continuing spread of the virus to denial often injected by semi- illiterate individuals in the District. He said they have now been re-energised by the address of the President and will henceforth redouble their efforts. He said the President could go ahead and withdraw the Staff of any Paramount who fails to ensure that the spread is curtailed in a particular Chiefdom.
Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Queen 11 of Marampa Chiefdom is so far the first to have this message disseminated to all his Subjects. He was able to summon an emergency meeting of every stakeholder in the Chiefdom, just the following day. He informed his Subjects about the ultimatum levied on by the President and how he would in his capacity as custodian of that Chiefdom, is determined to depose any Section Chief where Ebola cases would continue to prevail after two weeks. As was in the case of the Paramount Chiefs in Port Loko, the response of the people of Marampa in acceptance of the 2 week conditionality was done by both the Chairman of the Council of Section Chiefs- Pa Alimamy Kirka and Pa Alhajie Yusif Bangura- the Marampa Chiefdom Speaker. They have also on behalf of the People of Marampa Chiefdom, okayed the Paramount Chief Koblo Queen to relieve any Local Authority where reasonable efforts were not visibly done to stop and eradicate Ebola in the Chiefdom.
This Emergency Meeting was climaxed by the distribution of a lot of Ebola Personal Protective Equipments and Medical Materials including cash and other incentives. Apart from the Managing Director of the St John of God Catholic Hospital- Bro. Michael Koroma, who donated money and bags of Rice, the bulk of the donation was done by the ‘Frank Bai Kargbo Family’ which provided Infrared thermometers, Cantons of Personal Preventive Equipments and a total of 35 Mobile Phones with a 6 month prepaid period. The Package which can be estimated at two thousand United States Dollars was presented by Mrs Irene Kargbo on behalf of her Family for onward distribution to the targeted beneficiaries
Addressing Stakeholders at the presentation ceremony, she said the Package was with support from the wife of the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone-Madam Mao Xuehong. Mrs Irene Kargbo said the items were procured following a needs assessment that was conducted by both Bro. Michael Koroma and Madam Isatu Daramy on how best the people could enhance the stop of the virus in the Chiefdom. She said the issues of lack of a convenient means through which the Natives could communicate their concerns to the authorities for appropriate response and the handling of either Ebola corpses or sick people when relatives were left with the only alternative of using their bare hands , came out as some of the crucial needs. Mrs Kargbo became so much moved by this appalling findings that she engaged the wife of the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone and presented a case with emphasis on the plight of women in such a situation. She said Madam Mao was equally moved and wasted no time in providing a substantial amount of money that was used to procure the aforementioned items. She told the Sierra Leone News Agency in an interview that her family is so committed in contributing to salvage the situation because Marampa is their Home and cannot afford to idly stand by and watch such ugly developments.
According to the Coordinator of the Marampa Chiefdom Health Committee on Ebola-Paul Santigie Sesay, such an offer could not have come at a better time especially now when the President is desperate to conclude the fight against this killer disease. He catalogued some of the remarkable contributions the Families of Frank Kargbo and Edmond Koroma have done in promoting and protecting the interests of the People of Marampa Chiefdom, citing the donation of hundreds of bags of rice and other incentives in the Ebola fight.
Dilating on some of the strategies they have put in place, Paul Santigie Sesay said it is now a punishable offence for people to fail to report and bring forward a sick person to the knowing of the authorities. He said they have also mandated the formation of Village Taskforce Committees and the registration of every Household in all the Seven Sections of the Chiefdom. He said this is in addition to 120 bed capacity Treatment Centre I M C is constructing at Rogblan along the Gberay Junction/ Lunsar Highway and the 10 bed facility WHO has constructed at the St John of God Catholic Hospital. The Marampa Chiefdom Health Committee Coordinator said, Government has not only provided an Ambulance and 2 vehicles to the Chiefdom, but that they now have a Trained Burial Team stationed in the Chiefdom Headquarter Town of Lunsar. He said they are therefore optimistic that there will no longer be the unnecessary delays used to be experienced that had led to the escalated figures in the Communities.