Category : Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, was startlingly unprepared for the Ebola outbreak that tore through the country last year. It had only 120 doctors for a population of 6 million people, and life expectancy hovered below 50 years. The Rhode Island-sized district where the disease first struck lacked both electricity and paved roads.
But the country is rich in a resource that may best promote recovery from an epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 people and turned whole communities against one another: forgiveness.
“It begins with honest conversation,” says Keppa. “I wanted him to know that by isolating his son, we prevented others from getting sick here. He died, but that was the last case we had in this village.”
Just over a year after their ordeal, Tommy and Keppa stand side by side as they recount the story, not betraying even a flicker of the hurt and suspicion that both men say nearly broke them after the younger Tommy’s death.
A woman who recently died in northern Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola.
It comes as a setback to the country’s effort to eradicate the deadly disease.
Sierra Leone was celebrating last week when it discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital.
News of the new case means the country is no longer Ebola-free. High-risk contacts of the woman have been identified, isolated and will now be watched for symptoms.
Liberia has gone a week without reporting any new cases of Ebola, the first time such a milestone has been reached since May 2014, the World Health Organization says.
But officials say there have been 132 new cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone in the week to 1 March.
They have warned that populations are so mobile in the area that there could easily be fresh outbreaks in Liberia.
A military-style operation to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone has helped to dramatically reduce new cases, in what health officials say is a major step towards defeating the deadly disease.
Since it was launched about one month ago, the operation has doubled the number of ambulances for patients in the densely populated west of Sierra Leone, the worst-affected country where more than 3,000 people have died.
Police halt vehicles at checkpoints in the tumble-down streets to check temperatures, while posters proclaim in the local Krio language: “Togeda we go stop ebola.”
Medical experts seeking to stem the Ebola epidemic are sharply divided over whether most patients in West Africa should, or can, be given intravenous hydration, a therapy that is standard in developed countries. Some argue that more aggressive treatment with IV fluids is medically possible and a moral obligation. But others counsel caution, saying that pushing too hard would put overworked doctors and nurses in danger and that the treatment, if given carelessly, could even kill patients.
The debate comes at a crucial time in the outbreak. New infections are flattening out in most places, better-equipped field hospitals are opening, and more trained professionals are arriving, opening up the possibility of saving many lives in Africa, rather than a few patients flown to intensive care units thousands of miles away.
The World Health Organization sees intravenous rehydration, along with constant measuring of blood chemistry, as the main reason that almost all Ebola patients treated in American and European hospitals have survived, while about 70 percent of those treated in West Africa have died.
Last week, I visited Sierra Leone very briefly, far too briefly in fact. The purpose of the visit was to meet and talk with faith leaders who have been among those leading the struggle against Ebola. What a difference! Living their lives at risk, passionately and deeply involved in the people around them, they demonstrated a love and a reaching out to the grieving, to the ill and to the frightened that was utterly inspiring. The orphans of Ebola are being cared for, not least due to the generosity from this country. All those I met spoke of that.
What made the difference? The war lords claimed to be Christians, but left no space for Jesus in their lives. On the first Christmas, the shepherds, kings, Mary and Joseph, took the decision to allow God to take the central space in their lives; God who gave them every choice and freedom by revealing Himself space for in the form of a helpless baby. We still remember them for their joy, their generosity, their sacrificial self-giving. King Herod refused space in life for anyone except himself and we remember him for his cruelty.
For me, in all the busyness of Christmas there is one essential: that I gaze again at the reality of Jesus, God himself, in human and helpless form, who comes to rule and reign in this world, not by force but by love, and that seeing Him, I give Him His rightful place in my life.
Sierra Leone has banned public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year, because of the Ebola crisis.
Soldiers are to be deployed on the streets throughout the festive period to keep people indoors, officials say.
Christmas is widely celebrated in Sierra Leone, even though Islam is the largest religion.
Sierra Leone has the most cases of Ebola in the current outbreak. Some 6,580 have died, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Is there a religion angle on this story? Of course. Kudos to Time for making that abundantly clear.
Health officials in Sierra Leone have discovered scores of bodies in a remote diamond-mining area, raising fears that the scale of the Ebola outbreak may have been underreported.
The World Health Organization said they uncovered a “grim scene” in the eastern district of Kono.
A WHO response team had been sent to Kono to investigate a sharp rise in Ebola cases.
“We know the outbreak is still flaming strongly in western Sierra Leone and some parts of the interior of Guinea. We cant rest, we still have to push on,” Nabarro told a news briefing in Geneva.
About 100 Nigerian medical workers are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone to help with the response to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
The workers, who include doctors, scientists and hygienists, have been trained by the medical aid agency, MSF.
It came a day after residents in the Guinean capital, Conakry, protested about the construction of an Ebola treatment clinic in their district.
The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year.
If you think the fight against Ebola is going well, here’s a grim new number: 537.
That’s how many new infections were reported in Sierra Leone in the past week. It’s the highest weekly tally in any country since the West African outbreak began.
International governments and aid groups have scrambled to open Ebola treatment centers in the country. But, because of safety concerns, many of these centers are accepting only a fraction of the number of patients they were built to serve.
If the intention of the government of Sierra Leone today was to show the World Bank president, how effective its coordinating strategy has been in combating the Ebola virus, then Ebola must have had a different and shocking agenda.
As the World Bank chief arrived in Freetown today, the number of cumulative Ebola cases in the capital was fast making its way to an all time high of 2,223 ”“ an increase of 396 new cases in the last thirteen days.
Figures for the country as a whole was even less flattering for the man who controls the World’s finances, as the total number of cumulative confirmed new cases rose to 6,132 ”“ a massive 93 new cases recorded across Sierra Leone in one day, bringing the total number of new cases in the country to 691 in just nine days.
he local headmaster – now out of work because the schools are closed – has become a fervent anti-Ebola campaigner and social mobiliser.
But Godfrey Kamara is finding it almost impossible to change the community’s behaviour.
“It’s not working. When they’re quarantined people should stay around and have security. And they still wash the dead,” said Mr Kamara, accusing Ms Bangura’s family of doing just that.
“They washed her body before calling 117. I know it. They shouldn’t do that. I tell everyone they shouldn’t wash the body but they still don’t believe Ebola kills….”