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.
Cuban Minister of Public Health
Roberto Morales Ojeda
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 personnel who are highly qualified and proficient in responding to medical crisis in underdeveloped countries.
|Sierra Leone President|
Ernest Bai Koroma
This deployment will be a welcome relief to Sierra Leone, as the country's Health resources have been put under considerable strain since the outbreak was first reported around the second quarter of the year. The team of 63 physicians will really be welcome as the lead doctors in the fight against the disease have been exposed to the virus. Three of them have already died and arrangements are been made by the government to send the fourth one, a female doctor, out of the country for treatment in Germany. The risk of caring for Ebola victims has put health care workers in the country under a great deal of pressure and stress. The Cuban personnel will be highly welcome.
|3 Day Government|
This month, there will be a three day lockdown of the entire country of Sierra Leone to allow a house to house Ebola sensitization and awareness campaign. Few exceptions will be made to the mobility of people and many are already stocking up on essential items in preparation.
|UN Secretary General|
Ban Ki Moon
The international response to the Ebola epidemic follows a direct appeal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to nations around the world to rise up and help the afflicted countries, most of whose health care facilities have simply been totally overwhelmed by the scale of the current crisis. In neighboring Liberia, the country has totally run out of beds to handle Ebola cases and the US military has volunteered to donate some field hospitals to that country. So far Cuba's offers is the most substantial offer of manpower to date.
|WHO Director General|
Dr Margaret Chan
Of the five West African countries that have had reported cases, Liberia has been hardest hit by the virus. The people initially ridiculed the outbreak as a scam and rebelled against the warning of eating bush meat. Some foolhardy individuals even raided and stole items from an Ebola clinic in the capital, making away with blankets soaked in Ebola infected blood. This reckless behavior help propel the spread of the virus and just a few days ago the Defense Minister stated that the outbreak threatened the country's very existence. There are already signs of the Liberian economy sliding into recession.
In Sierra Leone, the removal of the bumbling Health Minister Miatta Kargbo who was becoming more of a distraction and had lost the confidence of both the international community and the citizens has focused the fight against Ebola in the country. The Ebola task force headed by the President seem to be exploring a lot of options and really committed to finding a quick response to this plague. The arrival of the Cubans will greatly facilitate the work of the task force.
As Sierra Leoneans, we all hope and pray that this crisis will end soon and people go back to the mundane routines of survival in Sierra Leone