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 parastatals, foreign diplomats and affluent citizens all heading to the President's office with checks in hand and photographers at standby for the opportunity to be photographed handing an Ebola check into the all too eager hands of the country's President.
For a country whose president and and ministers are eager to hop on planes to attend chapter political party meeting in countries as far away as the United Kingdom and USA, the inability of the government to evacuate a doctor because of lack of funds is a disgrace beyond comprehension. Even as we speak, the only reason that is preventing members of the Sierra Leone government from traversing the globe attending every small conference they are invited to and charging the government per diem for doing so is the lack of availability of flights.
If it is true that one of the country's doctors would be denied treatment because the country had to beg for funds from WHO in order for her to travel, this would be a terrible indictment of the country's leadership and a sign of dependency gone berserk. This is begging gone too far. Among even the poor, this is poverty with distinction.
Just today, Mary Greeley, an American right wing pundit went on social media to express justifiable outrage that the Sierra Leone government was busy receiving millions of dollars in Ebola aid and could not even afford to evacuate one if its own medical personnel, but had to rely on someone else to do that for them. "Where are the millions we are sending these people? She railed. Information reaching thins blog is that Ebola is payday for political fraudsters like United Democratic Movement's Mohamed Bangura and many others all receiving Ebola cash while radio personnel in the interior remain disengaged.
Just fours days ago the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation announced that they were committing about 50 million dollars to combat the Ebola plague in West Africa, 10 million of which was already available to help combat the virus. The Gates foundation does not have a very pleasant perception of Sierra Leone, as just some months ago it suspended operations in the country accusing health officials of massive corruption in the provision of funds for the vaccination of the country's children. There was much huff and puff by the government at the time and many officials were brought to trial. As is now so pattern the country's Anti Corruption Commission bungled the prosecution and most of the culprits were let off the hook.
According to the AP, the letter from the President's office to the WHO stated that he had approved the evacuation of Dr. Buck to a hospital in the German city of Hamburg and the hospital was on the ready to receive her. Turning down the request, the WHO said that they will work to ensure that Dr. Buck gets the best possible care right there in Sierra Leone. A spokesperson for WHO Tarik Jasarevic in an emailed statement replied that, "WHO is unable to organise evacuation of this doctor to (Germany) but is exploring all options on how to ensure best care. WHO will facilitate the best care possible in country for Dr Buck, including access to experimental drugs,”
WHO recently had some issue with the country's health officials when they opted to treat Ebola patients with the nanosilver concoction that was now being fraudulently peddled to West African leaders as an efficacious treatment against a Ebola, the veracity of which claim WHO does not endorse.
As of now the citizens of Sierra Leone will continue to pray for the female doctor and hope that the care promised to her by the WHO will be forthcoming.