Showing posts from September, 2014

Truth vs. Ambulance Chasing

According to sources close to State House, a recent newspaper story about defective ambulances is not true. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, a presidential adviser, has denied claims that new ambulances bought by the government of Sierra Leone earlier this month have broken down. "The ambulance story is a blatant lie, all are working, and they are not second hand.”

At the beginning of September, local papers reported that the first batch of 20 ambulances ordered by the government of Sierra Leone from Dubai had arrived at Lungi. The ambulances were received by Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Ibrahim Mansaray and other officials from ministries of health and sanitation, and finance and economic development. According to Mansaray, the ambulances are fully equipped and brand new, one report said.

Sesay explained that some utility vehicles, which were bought quickly in-country to supply the needs of burial teams, [Ebola] surveillance teams, etcetera are secondhand.

“Almost all car de…

Public Projects: A Case Study | "On-the-ground realities faced by project managers in the field"

Sierra Leonean small farmers and people who depend on agriculture rely on the nation's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security. The ministry's political appointees and career civil servants have the responsibility of transforming agriculture in Sierra Leone through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) process.

With CAADP, African nations have developed and are still developing agriculture strategies and sector investment programs and have pledged to devote 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper’s Comment is free column four years ago this September, Joseph Sam Sesay, Sierra Leone’s minister of agriculture, forestry and food security (in photo), said that between 2007 and 2009, the nation’s agricultural sector has gone from 1.6 percent of the budget to 9.9 percent in 2010.

“In Sierra Leone, the fund is helping small-scale farmers move from subsistence to commercial farming, including invest…

America's top diplomat notes Sierra Leone's "Amazing Show of National Unity"

From Charge d'Affaires
Kathleen FitzGibbon
Dated: September 21, 2014

The House-to-House Ebola Talk campaign continues throughout the country and is an amazing show of national unity. Sierra Leoneans have embraced the effort and are welcoming the dialogue. The radio stations are playing Ebola-related songs, public service announcements, and discussions with experts.

The people I have spoken to feel that something needed to be done to bring information about Ebola to arm each household for the ongoing battle.

Operationally, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the World Health Organization, World Food Program, United Nations Population Fund, UNICEF, MSF, and other international non-governmental organizations are working around-the-clock to get those seeking treatment into centers and testing and providing proper burials to corpses being found.

This has not been an easy task and we will have a better idea of what the challenges countrywide are after the districts have an opportunity…

Like U.N., Sierra Leone takes bold step, launches 'unprecedented' action

In Sierra Leone, about 30,000 people are going house-to-house covering 1.5 million households between Friday, September 19 and Sunday, September 21 to listen to community concerns, provide appropriate knowledge about Ebola  transmission, prevention, care and treatment, and to encourage families to take sick patients to treatment or observation facilities.

According to official information reported by the Minsitry of Health and Sanitation to the World Health Organization Thursday, the incidence of Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone is still rising, with over 200 new cases reported in the past week.

Transmission remains high in the capital, Freetown, and surrounding urban areas. The umbers of newly reported cases appear to have stabilized in Kailahun and Kenema, but a number of other districts have reported an increase in the number of new cases over the past week: Port Loko (a district adjacent to Freetown), Bo, Bombali, and Tonkolili, the WHO said. 

Reporting for Agence France Presse…

Sierra Leone loses 4th doctor, Cuba responds to Ebola crisis

Almost a month to the day Dr. Modupeh Cole died at an Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, officials at Sierra Leone's health ministry have announced the death of another doctor, bringing the total to four since Dr. Sheikh Humarr Khan, the virologist who was leading the fight against the disease in eastern Sierra Leone, died on July 29.

Sierra Leone's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo confirmed to The Associated Press (AP) Sunday that Dr. Olivette Buck died late Saturday, hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it could not help medically evacuate her to Germany,

Sierra Leone had requested funds from WHO to transport Buck to Europe, saying the country could not afford to lose another doctor. WHO had said that it could not meet the request but instead would work to give Buck "the best care possible" in Sierra Leone, including possible access to experimental drugs, the AP report said.

Three weeks ago, Presidential adviser Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said  Dr. …

Save Sierra Leone's Dr. Buck

Stricter infection control measures are in place as well as the personal protective equipment medical staff wear, but Ebola continues to take its toll on Sierra Leonean medical professionals and  health workers in treatment centers. Early on Thursday, September 11, an SOS went out for another doctor:

A PLEA for a fellow doctor's life 

My colleague Dr. Olivette Buck is one of the most dedicated and determined physicians I know. She had worked for over 20 yrs as a teacher before entering medical school and finally graduating the same year as me-in 2002. A patriot and focused individual. Further to this, she is soon to be ( or perhaps already) a member of the West African College if Physicians. One of the few to recently challenge this position. A mother of three and a dedicated Christian. She also unfortunately happens to be the first female physician  infected in Sierra Leone. We all need her to WIN THIS BATTLE! To give US doctors hope and faith our country won't let us down in …

No Makeup Challenge? | Sewa Woman Did it First: Walks the walk, Talks the talk

Social media is still awash with icebucket challenges which have raised more than $111 million in donations for the ALS (as of Monday, September 8). But another trend went viral in the last couple of months. The "no makeup selfie" also helps raise awareness and money for good causes.

Last July, Suafiatu Tunis sent us this selfie and she told Sewa News:

“While pursuing my own goals, I also like to help my community, relatives and friends. What I find most difficult is being in a position where I cannot do anything to help people. I like to be of service, especially to women, children and the aged."

Currently, Suafiatu, who is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with her husband and family, is leading Ebola sanitization campaigns and conducts trainings around Sierra Leone, reports Newsweek's Chad McCordic.

Below is a photo of Suafiatu (front row left with headwrap and scarf) leading a group "Community Response," which is one of the 7,000 community groups that …

Ebola: Myths and Misconceptions Abound

Discussions about Ebola are everywhere in Sierra Leone: in taxis, at the market, on the street, and at home. Understanding of the disease is growing but myths are still alive: 

"I woke up last night and washed my body with salt, Ebola can't touch me now, this is what a pastor told me."
"Ebola will be over when the rainy season ends."
"I drink a pint of beer every night, so Ebola can't touch me."
"My body is porous, if I go to the provinces I will catch the disease immediately."
"People don't realize it, but Ebola is just cholera in disguise." (Unicef Sierra Leone)

Professor Jimmy Kandeh put it succinctly when he posted on his Facebook wall that “Parallels between the war in Sierra Leone and the current Ebola outbreak are unmistakable and instructive.”

Both threatened national security and the  survival of our people; both emanated from across the border but found fertile ground in our country; the government was caught off guard…