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500 died of Ebola complications …Survivors stage demonstration

 

 

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By Abu BakarrKargbo

The Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors (SLAES) has stated that an estimated 500 of the 4,052 registered Ebola survivors died of Post Ebola complications in the past year of which nobody cares.

The lack of care and support for those who survived the deadly Ebola Viral Disease is the issue that has become topical of late. The pathetic situation is something that has warranted an urgent attention from any Government that has the people at heart. Senior Government Officials, Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Community and other senior Government and Private sector workers who passed along the Freetown Cotton Tree Roundabout were astounded to see Ebola Survivors staging a mass protest for unfulfilled promises made by the Government and its partners.

The hundreds of protesters seen at the State Avenue that were waiting for President, Koroma and Vice President Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh’s arrival  represented the 4,052 Ebola Survivors across the country, including Orphans and Widows.

Speaking to this medium in an exclusive interview, the Gender Desk Officer of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors said the Government committed itself to provide free medical facilities for Ebola Survivors across the country. “We have not seen this happening since the promise was made,” Hawa Sam said. She pointed out that they learnt from officials at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs that the sum of Le4billion was been allocated for their health and economic livelihood. “We are surprised to learn that the money has been reduced to Le1.9billion,”, and added that the Government has stopped all care and support it used to render to Ebola Survivors across the country.

It can be recalled that during the celebration of the International Women’s Day in 2015, several Government Ministries and Donor Partners such as the Chinese Embassy made pledges and commitments to support Ebola Survivors with financial, technical and other humanitarian supports to help boost their livelihood. Some of the Government Ministries named are: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, which committed itself to providing soft loan; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, promised to provide seedlings and farming equipment; Ministry of Trade and Industry, promised trade opportunities such as microfinance; Ministry of Health and Sanitation promised free healthcare delivery to Ebola Survivors, but none of these promises has been fulfilled.

The President of the Ebola Survivors Association, Yusuf Kabba is said to have held several meetings with the then National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare but all proved unsuccessful. “We are protesting today to send out a clear message to the Government and International Community that we are suffering a lot in our communities,” Mr. Kabba said, and added that they have been abandoned with no clear recovery plan for them whilst some of them are dying  as a result of neglect.

The former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai they said had cautioned them not to encourage the dependency culture,” adding that they have been involved in all programmes undertaken by Government and giving both Government and partners packages including financial incentive. Most of the survivors, he said have received nearly Le5million, and most have gone on skills training in different forms. Government, he said has budgeted money for livelihood support, especially those that were employed at the height of the Ebola as Social Workers in all districts including Western Area to work at the OICC.

In September 2015, His Excellency President Koroma ordered existing FDA/EMA Registered Concordia Medicines to treat the Ebola Survivors. Since August 2015, Dr. Montgomery Harding had administered and successfully cured 100 survivors with these medicines but with support from the World Health Organization. Health authorities and some NGOs had disrupted the distribution, implementation, payment and administration.

A press release from the SLAES states, “It is un acceptable for SLAES that there are medicines in the country that successfully intervenes Post Ebola Syndrome but access to Ebola survivors is denied for selfish reasons and hidden agendas.” The release further states thus “In the meantime, WHO/CDC, and others keep spending millions dollars on Post Ebola to expand their organizations with opaque studies are making the wrong decisions, enjoy luxury travels, drive big cars, receive huge salaries and exorbitant allowances but remain blind and deaf to the unbearable problems of the survivors who suffer daily from severe health complications and stigmatization

 

 

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