Ebola Scare! Chief Medical Officer leads Assessment Mission to Kailahun, Impressed over level of Preparedness

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Briefing the Chief Medical Officer and team at a meeting with the District Health Management Team in Kailahun, the District Medical Officer, Dr. James Squire reiterated their commitment to ensuring all key Pillars: Surveillance, Case management, Social mobilization and Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures and other strategies are intensified in all health facilities and border crossing points with screening and isolation established.

 “Upon hearing the news of the recent outbreak in Guinea, we activated our Emergency Operation Centre and Surveillance, setting up our screening points in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the National Security (ONS) the military, police and other partners”, opined Dr. Squire.

He disclosed that IPC measures are being effectively implemented with Rapid Diagnostic Tests supported by US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and reassured the Chief Medical Officer that “Ebola will not strive in a system that is working”.

Updates on death alert, movement of people from the two countries mostly female on business transactions from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Liberia to Guinea and community engagement where presented by the Surveillance and Social Mobilization Pillars, which shows tremendous progress in keeping track on active case search and movement.

Chief Medical Officer, US Centre for Disease Control Sierra Leone, Dr. Michael Friedman commended the Kailahun District Health Management Team for the good work, disclosing that there is no need for alarm or fear as there are no high risk cases. Most of the few cases are mild fever and malaria.

He disclosed the training of staff incorporated into surveillance, social mobilization, rapid test and swab team, adding that plans are ongoing to scale up training to all Peripheral Health Units in the 14 chiefdoms.

Team Lead, Office of the National Security (ONS), Mr. Joseph Bunting Graden lauded the Chief Medical Officer and team for what he described as an assessment mission to motivate and articulate actions towards a resilient system.

Mr. Bunting Graden said after assessing the situation and challenges, he is very much impressed over the progress seen on the ground and looks forward to partners support with regards disaster management.

In his statement, the Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Brima Kargbo encouraged the District Health Management Team not to relent but to remain focused and resilient, pointing out that he was very much impressed with the preparedness and progress seen on the ground.

He noted that the EVD started in Kailahun but for the past one year no single case has been recorded, and reiterated the need to remain vigilant. The President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Dr. Kargbo told his audience, is very much concern over the Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia border crossing situation, and stressed the need for the District Health Management Team to intensify case search and rely on the Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits as well as intensifying surveillance.

“The destiny of the country lies in the health sector and therefore needs full community support to achieve the aspiration of the government”, Dr. Brima Kargbo maintained.

In a broadcast speech on SLBC Kailahun and Radio Moa covering the 14 chiefdoms in the districts, Dr Kargbo underscored the importance for communities to continue observing the preventive and precautionary measures against Ebola and encouraged them not to be complacent.

In a related development, the Chief Medical Officer made a tour of the different facilities in the Kailahun Government Hospital, the Daru Community Health Centre, an assessment visit to the Bailu-Dandu Sierra Leone-Guinea border crossing point to observe movement of people traveling from Kailahun, Dandu, Gaugaudou and Zerekullay in Guinea.

Very many people were killed by the Ebola tragedy including doctors, nurses and other health staff buried at the Ebola Cemetary closer to the now defunct MSF Ebola Treatment Centre in Kailahun. Among them was Dr. Modupeh Cole, Physician Specialist attached to the Connaught hospital, a close friend and brother to the Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Kargbo having the opportunity to pay tribute and last respect to the deceased had to pose for a snap-shot by the grave side of Dr. Modupeh Cole at the cemetery. There was a tear of sorrow and fraternity.

 

Similarly, the Director of Disease Preventive and Control, Dr. Foday Dafae and team also made an assessment tour to Gendema Liberia-Sierra Leone border in the Pujehun district. Though report says human and vehicular traffic is heavy, the Pujehun District Health Management Team and the security personnel are on top of the situation.