With support from WHH… SEND /partners identify ebola challenges in Kailahun 

With over 200 days without reporting any positive ebola case within the Kailahun District, the Social Enterprise for Development (SEND) Foundation in collaboration with stakeholders have successfully identified the challenges facing the district in preventing the disease from reoccurrence.

Among the key stakeholders that were involved in the discussion include staff of SEND foundation, the Chairman Council of Paramount Chiefs in the District, the Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, representative from the Police, the Office of National Security Coordinator, representative of the District Ebola Response Centre, the Kailahun Women in Governance Network among others.

According to the Country Director of SEND, Joseph Ayamga, with funds from DFID Emergency Ebola Response Fund through Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) of Germany, they successfully draft the Kailahun Remote Villages Ebola Prevention Project plan that targeted 32 village border crossing points as a way of ensuring the zero ebola status in the district is sustainable. 

“The Kailahun Remote  Villages  Ebola Prevention  Project (KTVEPP) is  our mechanism for ensuring the  sustainability of Ebola Free  Kailahun  and contributing to  making  Sierra Leone  a  Zero Ebola country” he recall, adding that Kailahun has 56 remote crossing points with Liberia and Guinea as majority of these villages are only accessible by footpaths and the project is operational in the 32(57%).

Having reviewed and discussed the 32 Kailahun Remote Villages Ebola Prevention Action Plan, the participants agreed that the major challenges that need urgent attention within the district include delay of burial  teams to attend to calls, inadequate ebola  sensitization, continuous treatment of patients by herbalists, Lack of equipment for hand washing in remote villages, poor monitoring arrangements at border crossing, continuous keeping of the sick at home, unsafe burial practices, bye laws no longer being enforced and poor hygiene and sanitation. 

It was discovered that with a population of 462,000 (four hundred and sixty two thousand) within the District, only five burial teams are available as most of the remote villages cannot be reach during the raining season and the some communities lack means of communication using mobile phones.

At the end of the discussion, the participants were able to resolved to advocate for the emphasis of government and donor agencies be directed towards making traditional burial ceremonies and actors ebola sensitive, “ We are convinced that villages are willing to use the lessons learned from the ebola crisis to modernize their burial practices. In every village, there are people responsible for bathing and dressing their dead as well as religious and traditional leaders who perform the final grave side rites”. 

They maintained that these men and women should be given training to incorporate ebola sensitive practices into burial ceremonies, maintaining that traditional leaders in all the 32 villages are willing to identify and guarantee that actors involved in burial ceremonies participate in the training, “ Once they are trained by the Kailahun District Health Management Team, Traditional Leaders, Village Ebola Watch Committees and PHU Staff will monitor their utilization of the Ebola sensitive skills during burial ceremonies”.

The Participants with one voice appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health, UNICEF, Plan International, Welt Hunger Hilfe, Christian Aid, Save the Children, International Red Cross, GOLD, Oxfam, and DFID to support the Kailahun Remote Villages Ebola Prevention Project to pilot modernization of burial  ceremony  and make them truly community owned. 

“We are convinced that  empowering  communities to take responsibility for burial ceremony in an  Ebola sensitive manner will  release financial resources  of  government and donors   to  invest in strengthening  health  facilities, schools and increasing  food production by our hardworking  farmers” they maintained.

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Post Office Box 54
Kenema, Sierra Leone
+232 78 20 68 53