Showing posts from March, 2015

A grateful nation says: Thank you, RFA Argus

President Koroma thanked British sailors and Royal Marines on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Argus on the eve of their departure back to the UK last week. It follows nearly six months deployed as part of the United Kingdom’s role in the response to the Ebola outbreak.

Argus, an aviation support ship, deployed to Sierra Leone from the UK in September with Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Navy personnel and Royal Marines, along with three Merlin helicopters, aircrew and engineers from 820 Naval Air Squadron.

Her three Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron and detachment of Royal Marines from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines helped deliver equipment, supplies and food packages to remote areas of the country during her time in Sierra Leone.

During his visit on Argus,  President Koroma was joined by Paolo Conteh, a retired major in the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and defense minister who now serves as CEO of the National Ebola Response Center. Also in attendance were Alex Bonapha, chair…

The Will of the People Transcends the Will of Parties in Presidential Democracies

Sierra Leone has been plunged into a major constitutional crisis following the President’s decision to sack the Vice President, notes Yusuf Bangura, a senior research associate at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development since September 2014.

The President based his decision on two grounds: having been expelled from the ruling All People’s Congress, the Vice President (VP) is no longer a member of a political party, which he claims is a “continuous requirement” for the post of VP; and

Section 40 (1) of the 1991 constitution gives the President “supreme executive authority” to relieve the VP of his post without going through parliament as stipulated in Sections 50 and 51 of the constitution.

Eminent legal scholars and practitioners, including the erudite jurist and chief architect of the 1991 constitution, Justice Abdulai Conteh, have challenged the legality of the President’s action; and the Vice President has petitioned the Supreme Court to deliver a verdict on the…

Ponder My Thoughts | Sumana Saga: Government goes 'A Bridge Too Far'

The sacking of Sierra Leone's Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana seems to have knocked Ebola off the public agenda, writes leading commentator Andrew Keili. In the latest edition of his long-running Ponder My Thoughts series, Keili looks at the debate which has dominated social media.

“Where there is little or no public opinion, there is likely to be bad government, which sooner or later becomes autocratic government.”- William Lyon Mackenzie King
This quote is apt for the present governance of our state. For quite some time now the government has had the upper hand in directly or indirectly influencing changes in governance institutions or making decisions that may in effect result in the step by step dismantling of the democratic gains we have made as a nation since the end of the war.

Several governance institutions like the Police, National Commission for Democracy, Judiciary may have slowly deteriorated with adverse consequences for our fledgling democracy.

Their actions or l…

Help Isatu Bah Stand and Nurse Again

***Update: Nurse Isatu Bah died Monday, March 23.

When Ebola broke out in Sierra Leone last year, Isatu Bah chose to volunteer as a nurse at her local Makeni Government Hospital. On November 18, while on duty attending to patients admitted at the hospital she slipped and fell down some stairs.

The spinal cord injury the 20-something volunteer nurse sustained that day was only discovered after an x-ray in the capital, Freetown, about 85 miles away.

"The doctor who analyzed the x ray stated that my sister needs to be flown out of Sierra Leone for urgent surgery," says Abu Bakarr Bah in his appeal.

 Bah is a public relations officer at Sierra Leone Standards Bureau and a former editor of Cotton Tree News.

Makeni Government Hospital wrote a letter to the nation's Ministry of Health for medical assistance, Bah added.

"Although the letter is being considered by the authorities, we are concerned about the delay taking into consideration the bureaucracies involved,” Bah said…

A School for the Magdogbos

In Freetown, Sierra Leonean authorities have slated March 30 for the reopening of schools.

Early in February, the government granted permission to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for work to start on "water and sanitation, Ebola screenings and psychosocial support" ahead of the reopening.

More than 200 miles north of the capital, the people of Magdogbo 1 and II are looking to build a new school.

KOINADUGU, SL (March 2015)-- Bala Mansaray, a parent in Folosaba Dembeleya chiefdom, said Magdogbo 1 and Magdogbo II  have two to three thousand people between them, with 150 children aged 5 to 14.

An old house serves as the village school.

Demba Kamara, another parent in Magdogbo, said that the school has two volunteer teachers. During the school year, they asked parents to contribute towards a wage for the teachers every month.

“Each parent was paying 5,000 Leones per month,” he explained.

But the monthly contributions stopped when a lot of parents started crying h…

International Women's Day 2015

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975.

Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to refl…

Sierra Leone announces Ebola Recovery Program

Sierra Leone is drawing up a new Social Services Delivery plan said President Koroma in Brussels Tuesday. The plan emphasizes improved health, education, social protection, and service delivery.

His comments come after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Monday to immediately send $80m to Sierra Leone to help halt the Ebola outbreak and assist in its economic recovery.

The IMF funds are being sent to help the Sierra Leone government cover its budget and boost its foreign reserves.

"The Sierra Leonean economy is battling two severe exogenous shocks with dramatic social and economic repercussions," said IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu.

"The Ebola epidemic and the sharp decline in iron ore prices are weighing heavily on the economy and have the potential for significant output contraction, continued price pressures, and increased fiscal and balance of payments deficits in 2015."

World leaders met in Brussels Tuesday to discuss the international respon…

'Blood is an entity that people pay a lot of attention to'

Last August, the World Health Organization told the ScienceInsider that convalescent serum was high on their list of therapies.

“There is a long history of its use, so lots of experience of what needs to be done, what norms and standards need to be met,” the WHO said about treating Ebola-infected people with the blood of survivors.

In the same article, Daniel Bausch, an Ebola expert at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, agreed that trying the therapy in nonhuman primates and then implementing it in the affected countries in West Africa makes sense.

“It’s gonna be messy, it’s gonna be difficult to do, but at some point we’ll just have to try to plunge in and move forward,” Bausch said

That messiness and difficulty were very evident this week as the government of Sierra Leone rushed to put out a social media firestorm, which broke after Umaru Fofana posted that a pallet of Ebola blood samples were marooned on the tarmac at Lungi international airport.

In a joint statement by the…