Fellow Sierra Leoneans
From Friday September 19 to Sunday September 21, 2014, we all answered to the call to stay at home for the Ebola Ose to Ose Campaign. Thousands of Sierra Leoneans volunteered to pass on the messages, to coordinate activities, and provide logistics. Thousands of health workers, from doctors to nurses, lab technicians, hygienists, burial teams and others showed great commitment during the campaign. Hundreds of journalists throughout the country, coordinated by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and IRN worked resolutely to get the messages to the communities throughout the land. We laud paramount chiefs, religious and community leaders, motor drivers and bike riders, musicians for adding their energy and goodwill to the effort. We also salute the security forces for committing their efforts, authority and goodwill to the national call. It was indeed an impressive effort, and in organizing and implementing it, Sierra Leoneans once again demonstrated their collective ability to rise up to the occasion.
The three days Ose to Ose Campaign achieved its objectives. Nearly all households in the country got messages on Ebola. Those who could not be visited by volunteers got information from the radio, and the stay at home itself, with empty streets everywhere concentrated the minds of our people on the reality of Ebola and what everyone should do to kick Ebola out of the country. The Campaign also convinced many people to get out the sick amongst them, and to report on suspected deaths in their households and communities. The country rose up to the occasion.
Before and during the campaign, government and development partners increased the country’s capacity to meet the challenges posed by Ebola. But the campaign also highlighted areas of greater challenges. We are committed to strengthening our capacities to meet these challenges, including improving response times, building more treatment and holding centers, and strengthening the neighborhood watch mechanisms that the campaign had initiated.
To sustain our efforts in overcoming the challenges that were further revealed during the Ose to Ose Campaign, and in consultation with our partners, in line with our people’s avowed commitment to support extra measures to end the Ebola outbreak, and pursuant to the Public Emergency Regulations 2014, Government has decided to institute these further measures:
Port Loko, Bombali, and Moyamba districts are isolated with immediate effect. It should also be noted that Kenema and Kailahun remain isolated
• Marampa, Buya Romende, Maforki, Koya, Masimera and BKM Chiefdoms in the Port Loko District, Bombali Shebora, Makarie Gbanti, Gbendembu Gowahun, Mpaki Masabong in the Bombali District, and Fakunya, Lower Banta and Bumpeh Chiefdoms in the Moyamba District are isolated, and residents in these chiefdoms must not travel to any other chiefdom until further notice
• Corridors for travel to and from non-quarantined districts are hereby established, but vehicles and travellers must not alight within the quarantined districts, and must only travel along the corridors between9:00 am and 5:00 pm
• In the Western Area, Pujehun, Tonkolili and Kambia Districts, names of Hot Spots to be quarantined will be announced in the Government Notice following this Statement
• The ministries of Health, Education, Youth and Local Government to activate the involvement of paramount chiefs, youths, and teachers within the affected districts in contact tracing and surveillance activities
• The National Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will ensure the reconfiguration and appointment of coordinators for every district EOC to facilitate effective decision making and implementation of action points at the district level
• The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the EOC will establish additional holding centers in the quarantined chiefdoms
The isolation of districts and chiefdoms will definitely pose great difficulties for our people in those districts. But the life of everyone and the survival of our country take precedence over these difficulties. Government and our development partners will continue to improve support to quarantined citizens to ease these difficulties. These are trying moments for everyone in the country, but we are a resilient people, a people that have shown their ability to unite and stand up as one to overcome difficulties. We showed this in our determination to achieve peace, to restore democracy, and more recently to undertake a three-day national Ose to Ose Campaign. This has never been tried before in any other country in the world, and that we went through it peacefully and resolutely is a testament to the better values of our national character. We will use these strengths to confront those tendencies that undermine the fight against the disease, we will utilize our better calling to end this outbreak, and by the grace of God Almighty, we shall overcome and free our land from this evil virus.
God bless our collective efforts
God bless our Sierra Leone