With his country badly hit by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone has expressed his disappointment at the the slow response of the international community to the fight against the disease in the country.
Speaking during a visit to the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre (EEOC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) office in the capital city of Freetown, the President criticised the international community for its delay in responding to the outbreak which, according to the WHO, has killed 1,013 people, 315 of them in Sierra Leone.
“We have not been provided with enough equipment, resources, qualified health officers, and we have lost the only expert we had in the country to the disease, amidst the declaration of the international health emergency on Ebola,” he said.
President Koroma said following the discussions he had had with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and some other major partners, the UN Chief promised to be in touch with the Director General of WHO to address the situation.
However, the WHO Country Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr Jacob Mafunda, said the organisation was involved in the area of training, surveillance, coordination, sensitisation and logistics.
Dr. Mafunda also said the organisation was now looking at the sustainability of the human resources by recruiting more doctors and nurses, while disclosing the arrival of experienced health workers from the Uganda Ebola treatment centre.
PANA reports that a strike by junior and some senior medical doctors at the Connaught Hospital, Sierra Leone’s main referral health facility, may hamper the country’s efforts to stop the spread of the disease.
The doctors launched their strike over the weekend to demand adequate facilities, including protective gear, against the background of several of their their colleagues who have contracted Ebola from treating victims of the disease.
PANA recalls that Sheik Umar Khan, the doctor who led Sierra Leone’s fight against the disease, recently died from the virus.
Of the four West African countries hit by the disease, Sierra Leone has the highest number of cases – 730, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Guinea, where the latest outbreak is believed to have started in December 2013 – not March 2014 as had been widely reported – has 506 cases and 373 deaths; Liberia (599 cases and 323 deaths) and Nigeria (13 cases and 2 deaths).