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Sierra Leone News: Anglican Church provides land for Ebola fight

churchOla During Children’s Hospital in the East End of Freetown can now boast of a well-spacious Ebola Isolation Unit outside its hospital premise, following the gratis provision of a portion of land measuring 0.5 acres within Bishop’s Court at Fourah Bah Road, east of Freetown.
The Anglican Church provided the land for the construction of a temporary Holding Unit in the period of Ebola crisis, after which, from a Memorandum of Understanding signed, should be demolished and handed back to the church’s authority.
Request for the land to facilitate the construction of the 21-bed Isolation Unit was made by a German health NGO; Cap Anamur / German Emergency Doctors and the Management of Ola During with concurrence of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
The holding centre, which was designed and constructed by Cap Anamur, will be used for screening patients, especially children and their parents, before they are allowed into the Ola During Hospital.
In the process, those whose case require further examination for the Ebola Virus Disease will be kept in  the unit for a period not less than 24 hours, before being transferred to an Ebola centre for treatment if necessary.
During the handing over ceremony of the property, the Chairman, Diocesan Development, Estate and Enterprise Board, Anglican Diocese of Freetown, Andrew Karmoh Keili said, “the Anglican Diocese of Freetown is pleased to contribute to the national fight against Ebola by this offer, especially as the Ola During hospital is the only Children’s referral hospital in the country.”
He added that the Holding Unit will therefore help greatly in reducing infection and death rates among children. He said the church considers it a mandatory Christian duty, and will continue assisting in diverse ways in the fight against Ebola.
While signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Freetown, Bishop Thomas Wilson said that the church acquired the land during the period of 1955 and has been reserving it for purposes of the church. But with the outbreak of the Ebola virus, and seeing the need to help save the lives of Sierra Leoneans, especially children who are future leaders of this nation, they have decided to offer it to be used as a Holding Unit for suspected Ebola cases.
He expressed hope that with such an offering, the Ebola disease; which has already ravaged the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans, will be brought under control as soon as possible.
Dr. Sarian Kamara from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation reiterated the need to have more Isolation Centers in the country, as, she echoed, their presence will enhance the fight against the disease, and further instil courage in Sierra Leoneans to visit the hospitals whenever they experience any of the established signs and symptoms of the Ebola disease.  She expressed gratitude to the Anglican Church for such a timely donation and assured that ministry will endeavour to provide the necessary equipment and personnel needed for the running of the unit.
A representative of Cap Anamur, Hassan Basma said as an health NGO, they have always demonstrated willingness to contribute to the well-being of Sierra Leoneans even before the coming of Ebola.
He said that despite the fact that most health NGOs previously attached to the hospital had left when the outbreak commenced, they are still rendering required services to health workers and Children at Ola During.
He viewed that if such gesture, as demonstrated by the Anglican Church continues, the fight against Ebola will be speedily won.
Management of Ola During Hospital, including the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Baion, amidst request for the provision of required PPEs to the Ebola unit, said that they are delighted that the unit is created at the hospital.
He confessed that the lack of a Holding Centre, among other issues, has been one of the challenges faced by the Hospital.
Few other health workers who spoke after the ceremony complained of extreme delays in sending results for blood samples collected from suspected cases.
It was reported that the hospital had sent more than 30 blood samples for confirmation but up to date no result has been brought to the hospital.
By Poindexter Sama
Monday October 13, 2014

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