Kailahun Women in Governance urges support for bye-laws

As a way of complementing efforts aimed at saving the lives of people in their district, the Kailahun Women in Governance Network (KWiGN) has urged government to strongly support the implementation of the various bye-laws put in place by Paramount Chiefs in the country to contain and eradicate the deadly Ebola virus from the face of the country.

According to the President of KWiGN, Madam Lucy Gondor, the medical practitioners are doing their best through treatments noting that traditional leaders are therefore complimenting that effort through the bye-laws that provide guidelines at chiefdom levels on the dos and don’ts relating to the spread of the virus.

She said as a non-governmental organization they have concentrated their efforts to peripheral towns and villages in the Kailahun district that are most hit by the viral outbreak. She said her organization focuses on the denial aspect with the aim of ensuring wider acceptance of the reality of the existence of the viral disease and its contagious potency. “We are reaching out to the people to orientate their minds on the reality of the existence of the virus and to disorientate them from the thinking that the virus is related to witchcraft some other mystical believes such as that it is as a result of some broken taboos of the land.

She disclosed that with support from Christian Aid through their partner SEND Foundation in Kailahun, they are so far implement the project with some amount of success, disclosing that they have been supplied with loud speakers, chlorine, Ebola message posters and transportation to enable them access the interior part of the district. She said they have been adequately trained to handle message dissemination taking customs and traditions on board and involving local authorities such as female Councillors as part of their technical team that is operating under the auspice of the District Health Medical Team (DHMT).

She however expressed concern over what she said was the initial “marginalization of women” in activities undertaken by government agencies, civil societies and some NGOs. She maintained that women are very integral to the fight against Ebola being that they are closer to the children at home, the old and the young. “We decided to take this initiative to establish the importance of women in such a crucial national crusade aimed at restoring the safety and general wellbeing of the citizenry,” Madam Lucy Gandor stated, noting that with their active involvement in the awareness-raising campaign, there is hope of a sudden drastic reduction and the eradication of the virus in Kailahun district and the entire country.

Madam Gondor said they are engaging communities across the district on one-on-one basis as well as at community levels with diluted messages that is in tandem with the understanding of the people. She said at the community level of the campaign, they engage communities through radio programmes-talk shows, jingles as well as by community meetings and public address systems using megaphones and loud speakers mounted on vehicle tops.

She disclosed that as a consequence of this latest development, people are now reporting suspected cases and deaths to appropriate authorities established by government for confirmation.

Speaking about the challenges faced in executing this exercise, Madam Gondor she said they are struggling with the state of quarantine of the district and the restriction of movements of the people, which she said is adversely affecting economic activities of the people including farming which is the main stay of the people.

She appealed to government and humanitarian bodies to assist the Kailahun DHMT with protective gears (PPEs) medicines and equipment, food to avert possible mass hunger and starvation. She stated that it would be ironical if people are saved from Ebola and then killed by hunger.

Story by Alhaji M. Kamara

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