It was too good to be true that the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries, Guinea and Liberia, would be contained and stay out of Sierra Leone. On Monday, the 26th of May, Ebola was confirmed in Sierra Leone, in Kailahun district, a few miles from the Guinea border, quite near the epicenter of the outbreak in Guinea. This is a serious concern.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation's Ebola Task Force has been meeting on a daily basis with the aim of turning the nation's Ebola preparedness plan into a response plan. The task force created sub-committees to focus on elements key to outbreak response such as: laboratory, surveillance, coordination, logistics, case management and communication. The committees report to the task force and decisions are made.
Welbodi Partnership, as well as some other key NGO's such as King's Sierra Leone Partners, Emergency Surgical Centre and MSF and other agencies, joined the case management committee in order to support the Ministry in fighting this battle. Yesterday we were in non-stop meetings from 1pm - 6pm to finalize plans. And this is just the beginning. Next comes the ongoing efforts to follow through with plans. And, for Welbodi Partnership, we will continue supporting the Children's and Maternity Hospitals in establishing/running their isolation units and providing logistical support to the hospitals' Ebola Coordinators as well as maintain the link between the hospitals and the Ministry. We will also be involved with training of healthcare staff to ensure that they are well informed about the preventive measures they need to take.
Of course, with an outbreak like this also comes a lot of unnecessary drama, especially a lot of mis-information. The Ministry is, rightfully so, concerned with some of the information that has been published on the internet/social media. So, for the record, all statistics reported here will be taken directly from the information released by Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and Sanitation. As of the 30th of May there were 14 confirmed cases, all of which were in Kailahun district. There are no cases anywhere else in the country. There were a few suspected cases in Freetown, but they were all NEGATIVE. Let's hope that this disease will be contained and not spread further than Kailahun district.
For information directly from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation you can go to their facebook page: