SEND Foundation engage 32 border villages on Ebola

As Kailahun District goes over 170 days without any new ebola infection case, the Social Enterprise for Development (SEND) Foundation with funds from Welthungerhilfe (WHH), have completed training for Chiefdom Taskforces in 32 remote border villages in Kailahun on ebola prevention in relation to security measures.

The purpose of the training is to increase ebola awareness and promote compliance with ebola preventive protocols at 32 crossing points into Kailahun District, as it targets security personnel, religious leaders, Chiefdom ebola Task Force, Town chief, women youth leaders, Kailahun Women in Governance Network and the 12 women Councilors in the District. In most of the villages visited in the seven targeted Chiefdoms including, Luawa, Penguia, Malema, Kissi Tongi, Kissi Kama, Kissi Teng and Upper Bambara, the structures that were set to help in the fight against the deadly ebola virus are dormant, as they are of the opinion that the virus has gone forever. It could be recalled that sometime early this year, President Ernest Bai Koroma, warned fellow Sierra Leoneans from the issues of complacency towards the ebola fight in the country as Liberia which was badly hit by the disease has already been declared ebola free by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to the Country Director of SEND, Joseph Ayamga, in a BBC report on 1st March 2015, he underscored that the border villages in Kailahun District were not taking precautions against ebola, which a village Chief confirmed through an interview, that Sierra Leoneans were visiting Guinea markets and returning infected with the virus.

He maintained that with the declaration of ebola free in Kailahun in January 2015, the 14 Chiefdom ebola Task Forces are slowly disintegrating and that compliance with the ebola preventive protocols, especially in the borderline and remote villages have ceased, as the heads of the ebola District Task Force and Security services are concerned that these villages are being used by infected Guineans to reintroduce the virus in the District.

The Country Director disclosed that even the educational materials that once dotted walls of houses have disappeared and that 49 out of the 56 crossing points into the District are bush paths into remote villages that have no health facilities, adding that the project will target 25 bush paths and seven internationally recognized crossing points into the district.

According to one of the facilitators, Councilor Theresa Gerber, the training is a way of capacitating the various Task Forces in the 32 remote villages who will in turn train the community and other communities on the issues, stating that most of these remote villages are not motorable even motor Cycle could not find their way through.

Most of the beneficiaries of the training, admitted to be relaxed in performing their duties as the number of infectious cases are no more recorded in their district and most importantly the stipends given to them for their operations are not forthcoming, but they expressed appreciation on the timeliness of the training by SEND Foundation to avoid the issue of complacency.

By Alhaji M. Kamara

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Kenema, Sierra Leone
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