Ebola kills 79 Teachers  in Sierra Leone

BY Mustapha Sesay

 The Sierra Leone Teachers Union SLTU in collaboration with  the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) and the National Union of Teachers–UK on Friday 30th January, 2015 provided external support to seventy nine families of deceased teachers with cash donation  and food stuff at the Hotel 5;10 in Freetown.

The President of the Union Mr. Mohamed Bangura commended the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) and the National Union of Teachers–UK for rendering valuable assistance to the Union at this point in time and prayed that the relationship would continue to grow from strength to strength.

Mr. Bangura disclosed that since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus, the Union has been touring the country to distribute cash and food items to bereaved teachers’ families and quarantined homes whenever funds were available.


The Union has been very instrumental in raising awareness on the Ebola Virus, serving in the Surveillance Contact Tracing Exercise and helping in the Radio Teaching Program in the communities.

The Secretary General of the Union Mr. Davison Kuyateh on behalf of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union expressed his deepest condolences to the families of teachers who have lost their lives to Ebola.

He informed the gathering that they are witnessing the union’s modest presentation to families of teachers in the Western Area who died of this dreadful disease and to teachers who are quarantined.

Mr. Kuyateh furthered that since the Ebola outbreak, the Union has lost a total of 79 teachers. Since 30th October, SLTU has distributed food items to one hundred and eight quarantined teachers and families of Ebola deceased teachers in the provincial districts. Bereavement funds were also paid out to families of deceased teachers.

Some of the heart-breaking cases noted during the distribution exercise include Masiaka town in the North and the two surviving children of a deceased teacher (Mr Peter Kanu) are now being cared for by the Catholic Mission. Even the assistance presented by the Union was received by the Parish Priest on behalf of the children because Ebola had wiped out all close relatives of the deceased teacher.

In the Eastern district town of Kenema, a survivor teacher (Mr. Tamba Saffa) lost two of his sons to Ebola both of whom were also teachers and young university graduates. Mr. Saffa had also just been through a 21 day quarantined period of his entire household before the visit from SLTU.

In the southern district town of Moyamba, the family of a deceased teacher (Mr Joseph Ngegba), Vice Principal of St. Michael’s Secondary School, Moyamba, also lost the wife and two children – one of the children was a practicing lawyer and the other a medical doctor in training. The household now consists of only younger siblings including the grand children left behind.

The Union also lost the Principal of the Government Secondary School at Moyamba Junction, Mr. James B. Kanu.

In Freetown in the Western Region, a female deceased teacher had also lost her husband to Ebola leaving their four children orphaned.

SLTU as part of its support towards the fight against the Ebola epidemic is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other development partners to sensitize teachers, school children and communities. They do radio and television discussion programmes on the prevention of the Ebola virus disease.  The Union recruited over 7000 teachers who served as volunteers in the 3-day house – to – house nationwide lockdown sensitization drive. This exercise resulted in many more cases presenting themselves to the health authorities, thus the increase in the number of reported infections.

The Union also contributed the sum of Le 25,000,000 to the National Ebola Emergency Fund. SLTU has also been in the frontline together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and other partners including Education for All (EFA), UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children in the ongoing Emergency Radio and Television Teaching Programme. The Union is now putting together another group of teachers to help in the National Surveillance and Contact Tracing exercise.

Funds for this humanitarian assistance were got from the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) who provided 9,000 Canadian dollars, the National Union of Teachers –UK (NUT-UK) 5,000 British Pounds. In addition to the external support, SLTU provided to families of deceased teachers cash donation of two hundred and fifty thousand Leones per teacher from the SLTU bereavement funds.

During the SLTU food aid distribution, appeals were made to the Union for the provision of additional help to the school going children of the deceased teachers.  There were also calls for more teachers in quarantined areas to be considered for food supplies, hand washing and general sanitation materials.

As the scourge continues, SLTU continues to provide support to the newly affected families and quarantined teachers.

The program was climaxed with family members expressing gratitude to the Union, the Canada Teachers Federation and the National Union of Teachers –UK.

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