Monday, 18 May 2015 00:00

Maintaining zero ebola cases in Kailahun…35 surveillance officers capacitated Featured

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Maintaining zero ebola case involves the collective effort of all especially in the area of surveillance which is the back bone of outbreak response in health care delivery system that of investigation, collection, collation, analysis, interpretation of information where action can be taken.

It could be noted that Kailahun District consist of 14 chiefdoms and share international boundaries with Guinea and Liberia, while it also shares inter district boundaries with Kono and Kenema with a total population of 465, 048 and 81 Primary Health Care units and two referral hospitals.

As a way of building the capacity and ensuring effective and efficient surveillance within and around the Kailahun District, the Social Enterprise for Development Foundation (SEND) with support from the United Nations Mission on Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) has trained and equipped 30 Surveillance Officers and five Data Managers on Mobile Data Collection System for quick data reporting from the Chiefdom level to the District Health Management Team (DHMT).

Giving the keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SEND Foundation, Mr. Siapha Kamara, disclosed that his organisation has been assisting the DHMT in the implementation of the Health Sector Governance project funded by the European Union long before the outbreak of the ebola disease virus in the district and the country as a whole.

He expressed thanks and appreciation to UNMEER for facilitating the training of the Surveillance Officers in the area of Data Collection and Management System which according to him will in future enhance efficiency in their various reporting system, disclosing that with the ebola outbreak his Organisation has been complementing the fight by supporting the DHMT, providing food and non-food items for quarantine homes and survivors.

According to the District Programme Officer of UNMEER in Kailahun, Francis Zuradam Saareson, the first ebola case in Sierra Leone was identified by a surveillance officer during routine surveillance activity, a development that sent a signal of having an outbreak in the country.

He maintained that the surveillance team has been very much proactive in case investigation, line listing and continued Active case search in the district and in order to help strengthen the surveillance system, more officers were recruited and added to the existing ones to ensure all the chiefdoms and zones are covered properly.

The UNMEER Programme Officer disclosed that the process used by these Surveillance officers was faced with serious challenges considering the time spent as they will have to record the data on paper or notebook then travel all the way to the DHMT to supply the information, explaining that by the time the appropriate action is taken to go for the patient it will be too late which is why they decided to intervene to remedy the situation.

He disclosed that after the training they will provide each of the Surveillance Officers with a smartphone to be used for data reporting and as each of the four Data Managers will further receive a laptop and modem for date collection and processing as a way of ensuring quick reporting.

By Alhaji M Kamara

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SEND-SIERRA LEONE
Buedu Road, Kissi Town, Kailahun,
Post Office Box 54
Kenema, Sierra Leone
+232 78 20 68 53