By Prince C. Kamara
Sierra Leone’s premier telecommunications company Africell on Tuesday 24th March, 2020 donated a consignment of chemically-treated protective gears to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to boost the preparedness of medical personnel in the event the Coronavirus creeps into the country.
Representing the Ministry of Health and Sanitation were the Deputy Minister II of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Amara Jambai, Permanent Secretary Abdul Rahman Fofanah, Dr. Lawrence Sandy, Madam Jatu Abdulai and staff of MoHS.
Representing Africell were the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer (CCAO) Joe Abass Bangura, AfriRadio Manager John Konteh and a senior staff Abdul Karim.
Making a statement before handing over the consignment of chemically treated protective items, Joe Abass bangura recalled the nationwide broadcast on Thursday 18th March and subsequent press conference on Friday 19th March 2020, wherein President Julius Maada Bio, announced enhanced public health and safety measures to prevent the corona virus (COVID-19); which are already being implemented.
He said in this direction, “Africell would like to commend the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) who even before the President’s announcements had begun rolling out a raft of COVID-19 preventive measures more than a month ago.
He went on to state that “just like we did right through the Ebola response, Africell wishes to again pledge its support to the MoHS as it ramps up its efforts to prevent the entry and spread of the Coronavirus in our nation, through four tangible actions:
- Presentation of quantities of Medical Boots, Protective Clothing, Protective Goggles, Surgical Masks and Gloves
- Africell also announces the temporary relinquishment of occupancy of one of our Customer Service Outposts to host the Lungi Airport Corona Response Center. The center we are told, will be used to coordinate all response efforts at the Airport, for the albeit now limited air traffic into the country following the closure of the Airport to all commercial flights.
- The use of electronic money to conduct financial transactions has been cited as an enabler for social distancing; a key virus transmission prevention measure. In order to encourage our vast number of subscribers to use mobile money to conduct their financial transactions and further reduce the need for face to face interactions, Africell wishes to announce the removal all charges on all Person to Person (P2P) and Wallet to Bank (W2B) transactions for the next 90 Days. Africell subscribers are therefore urged to activate their Afrimoney accounts and start conducting their financial transactions electronically, benefiting from the free charges and limiting their person to person interaction, keeping themselves and their families safe during this critical period.
- Finally, we also wish to announce that alongside our Media Partner AfriRadio, we will today launch a Radio Public Information Campaign program on the CORONA Virus reponse. The program will be aired from 7pm-8pm on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and scaled up to a full weekday program as necessary. Similar to our Join Han for Dreb Ebola radio program in 2014, this program will be simulcast on all AfriRadio frequencies in key Cities and Towns in the Country; providing the latest updates on the response from the MOHS and its partners – and driving the needed behavioural change from the populace. This program will go on until the current threat posed by the CORONA Virus is neutralized.
He informed his audience that Africell has a representation in the joint MoHS-MIC COVID-19 Communications Committee and that the company looks forward to working with the Health Ministry and its partners on other relevant areas, critical to management of the COVID-19 pandemic response.”
He used the opportunity to appeal to all Sierra Leoneans, to comply with all directives and measures announced by the Ministry and by the WHO. “Like we defeated Ebola, together, we can work to defeat the Coronavirus,” Mr. Bangura noted.
The items donated included 40 chemically treated hand gloves, 40 chemically treated boots, 40 chemically treated goggles, 40 chemically treated face masks and 40 chemically treated protective body clothes.