On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: Ghana President joins Salone in Ebola fight

Pres. Koroma & Presi. John Duramani MahamaIt was exactly 1:43pm yesterday, when the Executive flight of Ghanaian President, John Duramani Mahama touched down on the Freetown International Airport situated at Lungi, and received by President’s Ernest Bai Koroma’s high-powered entourage constituting ministers and foreign diplomats.
The Ebola menace that has apparently ravaged the country in close to four months could not permit the two Presidents to extend the usual warm embrace that leaders give to their kinds during special Presidential visit like such, as medical precautions established for the prevention of Ebola strictly forbids body contact. Instead, both Presidents bowed to the chlorine bucket situated at the entrance of the Lounge to wash their hands.
The Lungi Airport’s Presidential Lounge was full of pomp and pageantry, as the two states leaders met at the conference room to discuss pertinent issues regarding the four months outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus, and plans to curtail its deadly propensity.
Dressed in dark African soutane, as his counterpart, President Mahama told the gathering that his visit was a follow-up of a meeting held by Ecowas Health Ministers in Accra, in which issues relating to health and its challenges in the sub-region were discussed. In addition, he said, his visit is to demonstrate the spirit of solidarity to the country in a trying moment like this.
President Mahama reiterated that the Ebola Virus disease is new in the sub-region and that plans to challenge it require a cohesive approach both locally and internationally. He extends condolences to the families of those (including health workers) who have lost their lives in the fight against the scourge.
Apart from its negative impact on the economies of affected countries, President Mahama; who doubles as Chairman of Ecowas said that Ebola has derailed economic development in the entire sub-region. He explained that the disease came at a time when farming activities in this part of the continent should be at its peak, and that the disease continuous presence will render a breakdown in agricultural production. He said that such negative agricultural implication will create famine in some parts of the country, when the disease would have been terminated.
As a result, he revealed, the Government and People of Ghana have opted to donate 150 tonnes of food items to the three countries affected by Ebola, which include: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. He said owing to the large consignment of the items, he brought few for exhibition, while the rest will be sent via sea-port.
However, the President asked for the waiving of excessive bureaucracies in procurement processes for Ebola logistics, as a procrastination of needed materials will further spread the disease.
In an optimistic tone, the Ghanaian President expressed certainty that the Ebola battle should be won in months and that such battle requires the effort of the entire sub-region.
The President of the Republic, Ernest Bai Koroma, prior to President Mahama’s statement, expressed appreciation to his colleague for providing support to the people of Sierra Leone in a most challenging moment like this. He said that his visit to the country will restore confidence in other leaders to come to the country and other visitors, especially “when the government has put in place workable plans to challenge the outbreak. He said that with international support, the government has been able to strengthen its approach. One of such plans the President highlighted is the three-day house-to-house sensitization programme in the entire country, so that those who will exhibit the established signs and symptoms of Ebola will be identified and taken for treatment.
He further expressed thanks to Ecowas for showing support to the country during this period, especially its meeting of Health Ministers in Accra to chart ways through which the disease would be curbed.
He said that robust testing mechanisms are presently installed at the country’s international gateway- the airport, including borders, to ensure that no Ebola patient is deliberately brought in or taken out of the country. Therefore, he suggested, by stopping flights from coming to the country will further compound the problem, as importation of necessary logistics urgently needed in the fight will be stalled.
Having visited Liberia before his arrival here in the country, President Mahama, after the meeting, took off on-board flight 9G-Exe 001 to Conakry; Guinea, where similar meeting is expected to be held, before his final departure to the Republic of Ghana.
By Poindexter Sama
Tuesday September 16, 2014

Comments are closed.