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The news from Sierra Leone

Jul 1, 2014, 10:36 AM

There is grim news from Sierra Leone, where the government was compelled to warn that it is a serious crime to shelter patients infected with the Ebola virus, who are in hiding.

This was after several patients had discharged themselves from hospital in the Kenema district, the heart of the country’s outbreak, according to the country’s health ministry.

Meanwhile, WHO has reportedly called for “drastic action” to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has killed almost 400 people. The latest report we saw further stated as follows:

“It is the largest outbreak in terms of cases, deaths and geographical spread.

“There have been more than 600 cases in Guinea - where the outbreak started four months ago - and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. Around 60% of those infected with the virus have died.

“The WHO says that in Sierra Leone alone, there have been at least 46 fatalities out of a total 176 people infected with the Ebola virus.

“The global health body has sent 150 experts to the region to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, it has warned of the potential for “further international spread.”

“Dr Shek Moar Khan, who is working with Ebola patients at Kenema government hospital, said his team met resistance when trying to inform people about the disease.

“Health workers have been trying to explain to people in the areas affected that Ebola “is not a mystery, but simply it is a disease that somebody can acquire, and if only they could listen appropriately to our advice, then we could break the chain of transmission,” he said.

“On Friday, the WHO told several West African countries - Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Guinea Bissau - to prepare for the possible arrival of travellers carrying the deadly virus.

“Most of the deaths have been centred in the southern Guekedou region of Guinea.

“The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has already warned that the Ebola outbreak is out of control.

“It says the epidemic will spread further unless there is a stronger international response.”

We hope the WHO warning about possible arrival of travelers carrying the deadly virus was also received by the Gambian authorities.

For instance, right now there are Gambian journalists in Sierra Leone attending a WAIFEM workshop related to financial reporting.

We hope the health and immigration authorities at the airport will be on the look-out for their return to the country, to make sure they are well screened before they leave the airport for their homes and work places.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."