Sierra Leone seeks help to fight Ebola

Doctors say they are in desperate need of health workers and medical supplies.

    Sierra Leone seeks help to fight Ebola
    Health workers conduct a house-to-house campaign sensitizing individuals on the Ebola virus. [EPA]

    Sierra Leone is in the middle of an unprecedented three-day lockdown intended to stop the spread of Ebola, but doctors say they are in desperate need of health workers and medical supplies.

    Thousands of workers join together to visit every single household in the country to educate people about the virus, while they also intend on isolating the sick.

    Volunteers plan on placing stickers on each household they have visited, and any one suspected of being infected with the virus will be sent to an isolation ward in the capital Freetown.

    Meanwhile, independent observers have voiced concerns over the quality of advice being given out, deeming the shutdown a "mixed success" in the Western Area, the region that includes the capital Freetown.

    "While the supervisors were well trained, the visiting teams to families in some parts in the Western Area had poor training and could not deliver the information properly," said Abubakarr Kamara, from the Health for All Coalition, a local charity.

    Complaints went around about certain volunteers in the campaign, complaints such as their age being too young as well as the insignificance of information being given around which is believed to be holding back the campaign.

    "In this case we are talking of the responsibility of homes that we are going to visit, that they have the responsibility to talk to their own families, to get the awareness in them that Ebola is real, how they can prevent themselves from getting Ebola.” said Samuel Turay, one of the volunteers.

    Marta Lado Castro-Rial, who is a clinical leader, says they are in need of healthcare workers, trained people and experts.

    "We need people to come here and cope with the Salonean staff to help them work but in a safe way with high standard supplies and equipment because otherwise we are going to keep on going with this thing about infecting more healthcare workers and it’s like a loop." Marta says.

    In remarks broadcast on Friday, President Koroma told the people of Sierra Leone that "all of us must play our part. This is because if just one person does not play his or her part to contain this disease, the trial will not end."

    Health officials said they planned to urge the sick to leave their homes and seek treatment. 

    More than 2,600 people have died in West Africa over the past nine months in the biggest outbreak of the virus ever recorded, with Sierra Leone accounting for more than 560 of those deaths.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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