Koroma steps up Ebola battle

Comment on this story
iol pic afr JP02_HEALTH-EBOLA-AFRICA_0728_11 Reuters Medical staff working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) put on their protective gear before entering an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun. Picture: Tommy Trenchard

Freetown - Sierra Leone’s president visited the centre of an Ebola outbreak on Monday as West African leaders stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

It was Ernest Bai Koroma's first visit to the north-eastern district of Kenema since the start of the epidemic that has killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it the worst outbreak yet.

Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases, at 525, surpassing neighbouring Guinea where the virus was first reported in February. A Liberian man died of the disease in Nigeria last week.

The president headed to Kenema by helicopter after a prayer session at the national stadium in the capital, Freetown, to mark the end of the Muslim month of fasting.

Koroma, a Christian, told the Muslim congregation that he planned to visit Sheik Umar Khan, the country's leading Ebola doctor who tested positive for the virus last week.

Khan is now a patient at an Ebola treatment centre run by the French charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kailahun.

However, Information Minister Alpha Kanu told Reuters that Koroma had been unable to reach Kailahun because of lack of fuel and had returned to Freetown after stopping in Kenema. The president would travel to Kailahun on Tuesday, Kanu said.

Several other medical staff have contracted the disease, including two American doctors working in Liberia.

Koroma said on Saturday the government planned to step up efforts to containing the disease with a view to ending the outbreak within 60 to 90 days.

The new strategy will focus on contact tracing, surveillance, communications and social mobilisation, social services, logistics and supplies, he said. - Reuters



sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.