“Public meetings and gatherings will be restricted with the exception of essential meetings related to Ebola sensitization and education” ~ President Koroma, July 30th 2014
The general public has eased up on ebola prevention measures because of the nation’s leaders’ non-adherance to emergency laws against non-ebola related public gatherings. Officials from the Government of Sierra Leone including the President and the head of the National Ebola Response Centre participated in two public events this week that go against the State of Emergency put in place by the President on July 30 2014, and extended in December 2014.
The head of NERC, Paolo Conteh was at a local trade exhibition for businesses and NGOs held at the Radisson Blu hotel with 50 or so entities present. Even the President and his entourage gathered with other dignitaries at Mile 91 for the opening of the new Union Trust Bank branch. Neither of these two events were related to ebola education or sensitization.
These events widely publicized in the press, continue to mislead the public on the continued threat of ebola. In these crucial months when significant gains have been made such behavior could prolong this crisis as the outbreaks will continue in pockets. Just last week there was an outbreak in Aberdeen, the community neighboring the very same Radisson Blu where Palo Conteh attended the trade fair. Getting Sierra Leone to zero is going to be ever more challenging if government officials especially are not steadfast on their 2014 resolve when conditions were much worse.
Meanwhile the number of new and confirmed ebola cases have risen in the past week. In just 4 days between February 20-24 there were 57 new ebola cases in Sierra Leone, at an average of 14 cases a day.
Sierra Leone has not had a day of no ebola cases in the country. Until that day is here, the Presidency included must continue to press on the crisis at hand.
The government it seems is already in post ebola mode while still very much in the crisis. There is a race among NGOs, and the government to ready themselves to receive what ever post ebola development and recovery funds are surely on the way. Yes we know that as with post war reconstruction in Sierra Leone many coffers are waiting to be filled, more cars to be bought, and homes to be built. But oona sef oona don di wok foss leh di ebola don batang-batang bifo oona bigin di usual.
However, if indeed the government and the President no longer feel the need to adhere to the State of Emergency prohibitions put in place, then they should go ahead and remove it and allow the public and businesses currently being forced to stop trading at 6pm to conduct business.
If wi di teteh leh wi start foh teteh wan tem. If wi di lef handle leh wi all lef handle together so all man en uman sef go di jam bodi na dem gatherings dem ya. Or is it that these restrictions placed on the public must only apply to those on the economic edge, most at risk for ebola? Is it only them that should keep to themselves, and not come together?