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Showing posts from September, 2014

Sierra Leone Ebola Updates: The People and the Lockdown

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The current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa continues to grow in its severity. Yesterday the Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Margaret Chan, in her address to an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Peace and Security in Africa said that in the hardest hit countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia, "an exponentially rising caseload threatens to push governments to the brink of failure." She stated that though the WHO had dealt with many big disease outbreaks in recent years, the current West African outbreak was in her own words, "the greatest peacetime challenge the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced." She declared the outbreak a humanitarian and economic crisis, and a threat to national security beyond the borders of the afflicted countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its latest figures, updated yesterday  September 18th, 2014, puts the total 6 months West Africa Ebola case…

Ebola and the People: Liberia and Sierra Leone

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Liberia and Sierra Leone, the 2nd and 3rd country to officially be afflicted with the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, are also the two countries that have been hardest hit. While in Sierra Leone official incompetence was the primary factor for the rapid spread of the virus combined with public ignorance, in Liberia, the reverse is true. In Liberia, the people have been the main problem.
From the moment Ebola entered Liberia, the government of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been totally engaged in exploring viable options for its eradication. Unlike neighboring Sierra Leone were reports of the outbreak were first met by denial and bogus statements from a hapless minister and initial silence on the part of the President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf quickly joined in the public education campaign and was quick to call upon international partners for assistance. Where the Sierra Leone health ministry initially tried to create the semblance of efficiency in the absence of none, the Liberian g…

Dr. Olivet Buck Passes Away in Sierra Leone

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The fourth and only female doctor to have been infected with the virus in Sierra Leone died this morning, according to reports from health authorities in the capital Freetown.
There were moves being made to evacuate her to an Ebola treatment center in Hamburg,  Germany,  but the request made by the country's authorities to the World Health Organization ( WHO ) to sponsor her evacuation had been turned down. The WHO had opted instead to help her get the most advanced level of care right in Sierra Leone and had not ruled out the use of experimental drugs.
Unfortunately,  the doctor did not survive the outbreak and joins three other doctors Dr. Khan,  Dr. Cole and Dr Rogers as the fourth physician victim of this terrible scourge.
We will continue to pray for her family and the country and hope that God guides the country's leaders to find a way out of this Ebola death trap.
We will keep on hoping that our leaders always keep the following statements from the Scriptures in mind…

Journal of an Anonymous Liberian MSF Worker=Culled from the Guardian

The author is an aid worker for Médecins Sans Frontières who wished to remain anonymous I wake up each morning – if I have managed to sleep – wondering if this is really happening, or if it is a horror movie. In decades of humanitarian work I have never witnessed such relentless suffering of fellow human beings or felt so completely paralysed and utterly overwhelmed at our inability to provide anything but the most basic, and sometimes less than adequate, care. I am supervising the suspect tent, which has room for 25 patients who are likely to have Ebola – 80-90% of those we test have the virus. We administer treatment for malaria, start patients on antibiotics, paracetamol, multivitamins, rehydration supplements, food, water and juice while they wait for their results. Sometimes people have arrived too late and die shortly after arriving. In one afternoon last week I watched five seemingly fit, healthy, young men die. I gave the first a bottle of oral rehydration solution and came back …

WHO Turns Down Sierra Leone Government Request

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Reports from the Associated Press (AP) indicate that the World Health Organization (WHO) has turned down a request from the Sierra Leone Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma for funds to evacuate Dr. Olivet Buck, the fourth local doctor in the country to come down with the dreaded Ebola virus and the first female medical doctor to be infected. It can be noted that the first three Sierra Leone doctors infected with the virus who were all treated at home have all lost their lives. However, all the foreign doctors infected and evacuated to their home countries have survived. Reports indicate that Dr. Olivet had been cleared for treatment in Germany, one of the countries with the state of the art medical facilities required to contain a virus like Ebola.

If the AP reports are true, this would be a significant embarrassment for President Ernest Koroma who has converted the country's State House into Ebola donation central, with daily streams of private individuals, heads of paras…

Good News in the Fight Against Ebola in Sierra Leone

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Some good news in the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone at last. Yesterday at a news conference in Geneva, the WHO announced that the Cuban government of President Raul Castro has committed 165 medical personnel,  including 63 physicians to the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  The other medical personnel to be dispatched will be infectious disease specialists,  intensive care specialists and social mobilization officers.
According to Cuban Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda who also happens to be the WHO's President of the World Health Assembly, the 165 medical personnel will be dispatched to Sierra Leone for an initial commitment of 6 months. Responding to the great humanitarian gesture,  the World Health Organization Director General Dr. Margaret Chan expressed extreme gratitude to the Cuban Government and the health care personnel for their generosity. Cuba is renowned for the excellence of its health sector and turn out a high number of health…

Sierra Leone's Tough Year

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2014 will go down as one of the toughest years in peacetime post independent Sierra Leone, and we still have months about 4 months to go before the year is over.
In the small tropical country of approximately 6 million people, a combination of natural disasters, official ineptitude, and lack of preparedness has resulted in a punishing year that will be remembered for many more to come.
A seemingly random Ebola outbreak which started in Guinea and penetrated Sierra Leone probably around April encountered a health care system ill equipped to cope with a crisis of such magnitude. The result has been heartrending and the incidence is on the verge of becoming the most fatal International viral outbreak over the last four decades.
The nature of the Ebola virus confounds even the most advanced health care systems in the world. The Sierra Leone health care system, weakened by years of war, poor funding, lack of supplies,  inadequate training, systematic mismanagement and absurd levels of co…

Institutional Corruption in Sierra Leone

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The focus of most corruption watchers in Africa is almost always on politicians. In our country Sierra Leone, the most widely trumpeted cases on electronic, print and social media are almost always those involving prominent politicians or political appointees. Most of the prominent cases of corruption in Sierra Leone over the past year involved government ministers, mayors of the country's cities or urban settlements, revenue commissioners and so on.

What these sensational prime time media reports unwittingly convey is the idea of a honest society in which mostly the political class is corrupt; nothing could be further from the truth. In Sierra Leone, corruption permeates every institution, public and private. From the illiterate market woman who grounds rotten cola nuts and mixes it pepper to sell as cayenne pepper in the streets, to the roast beef seller killing stray dogs and selling it as roast beef, to the nurse who pilfers medications meant for patients, corruption in Sierra …

Congratulations to Sierra Leone Grammar School

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I am pleased to announce that my esteemed alma mater, the Sierra Leone Grammar School led the country in this year's West African Senior School exams. The Sierra Leone Grammar School, once known as the CMS Grammar School is the oldest secondary school in Sub-Saharan Africa with an unsullied history of excellence. It was the premier educational institution during the colonial era.

For over a century, the Sierra Leone Grammar School has provided the country and the international community with excellent professionals in all spheres of life, managing to do so while keeping a low profile and being notorious only for the consistent nature of its academic excellence and the international reputation of its graduates.
Even as the educational sector in Sierra Leone has experienced considerable decline due to civil conflicts, declining economic output and incomes, a disregard of the importance of education in development and massive brain drain caused by many excellent Sierra Leoneans going a…

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 4 and Edge

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Well I don't just blog about current events and politics, I am also a huge technophile. So let's get into it. Today,  mobile phone technology.
I love both Android and iOS. I used to love my iPhones,  but now you won't catch me dead using one. However on September 9th, with the launch of the iPhone 6 that may well change as Apple launches what is rumored to be a phone with a 5" or bigger screen.  The only iOS device I still have is my tablet.  I still think the Apple ipad is the best tablet by far and even though there are hundreds of tablets using Android and Windows operating systems,  no tablet in my opinion comes close to the user experience of iOS on the iPad. When it comes to smartphones however, its a completely different story. Don't get me wrong,  the iPhone is pretty impressive in terms of specs and user experience and is particularly good for people who just want to use their phones to make call, use basic apps and take pictures. Android however allows…