By: Abdul Rashid Thomas
Not in any way trying to raise alarm bells in Sierra Leone, and have people all hyped up. Nevertheless, if our collective memory regarding the most contagious and dreadful Ebola serves us right, Sierra Leoneans should be in a contemplative mode.
Not in a panic mode, at least not yet. This piece is purely intended for the government of Sierra Leone to start exploring and strategizing the possibility of “what if” scenario, in case there is an outbreak or occurrence, not necessarily in Sierra Leone, but in the surrounding countries, the likes of neighbouring Guinea, where the Ebola in Sierra Leone supposedly originated; and Liberia, Nigeria or Ghana or anywhere else in the region for that matter.
So it happened last time – remember, the denial, the lethargy and the equivocation, leaving over five thousand people dead?
Sierra Leone cannot afford and must not be allowed to be caught with “HIS pants down” this time around.
That is why we have the Chief Minister, who is paid big bucks – Leones – Pound Sterling -Dollars – Euros? whatever, for his expertise.
The President is not the only thinker heading the government, even though he has his Masters Degree, but the Chief Minister has his PhD. So get to work, man.
Granted the latest Ebola occurrence, incidentally in Africa, (not again), has indeed occurred far away from our shores, indeed thousands of miles away in Central Africa, in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to be exact, should still give Sierra Leoneans cause for concern.
The UN noted, “The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 innocent lives”, probably because the government there was asleep at the wheel of governance, neglecting its cardinal responsibility of protecting life and limb.
And the risk of spreading to other provinces in the Eastern Congo as well as neighbouring countries remains very high.
Uganda has already recorded two deaths. A grandmother and her grandson who had attended a funeral of an Ebola patient who was a relative.
A third of those who have fallen ill are children, which is a higher proportion than in previous outbreaks. DRC seems to be a hotbed of Ebola (no pun intended), but the country needs prayers.
The world is pretty much a Village these days. Ever closer by indomitable travel by air, sea and automobile to and from every corner of the world.
So, Sierra Leone must guard herself from any possibility of invasion by this disease. The government of Sierra Leone must be vigilant and fulfil its obligation to protect its citizens.
Ebola remains a major threat to the health and socio-economic well-being of the people of the East African Community (EAC) bloc, just as it was in the West African community when it happened there over 5 years ago.
Former President of Sierra Leone – Siaka Stevens, once said, “Vigilance is the price we must pay for our freedom”, though it was in a different context from today’s democratic principles.