S Leone Ebola chief blasts ambulance attacks

2014-10-30 05:00
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Ebola update: Mali case has Africa on high alert

2014-10-29 15:37

Harry Phillips from Health24 gives us the latest stats and facts on the Ebola outbreak. A new case in Mali has health officials trying desperately to contain the virus. Also, Australia issued a visa ban this week to anyone from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which has not gone down well with health experts and rights activists. Watch. WATCH

Freetown - The new head of Sierra Leone's Ebola response unit on Wednesday slammed criminals who are undermining the fight against the deadly virus by attacking ambulances or burial teams.

Retired army major Palo Conteh, head of the National Ebola Response Centre, said civil unrest and disobedience would make it impossible to beat the outbreak which has already killed almost 1 200 in the country.

"We must not attack ambulances, we must not attack burial teams. We must not erect road blocks because our loved ones are not picked up speedily," the former defence minister said in his first news conference in the post.

Sierra Leonean media have reported numerous episodes of unrest since President Ernest Bai Koroma announced a state of emergency in July.

In the latest incident, witnesses saw an ambulance carrying suspected Ebola patients crash into a ditch in the northwestern district of Port Loko after a mob pelted it with stones on Monday.

The attack came days after two people were killed in the eastern town of Koidu in a riot started when health workers tried to take a blood sample from an elderly woman.

Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids and experts have identified traditional funeral rites such as washing victims as a mode of transmission.

Among a raft of emergency measures imposed by Koroma, Sierra Leoneans have been ordered to report Ebola deaths to the authorities or risk prosecution.

But Conteh said people were still hiding the bodies of loved ones from specialist disposal teams, fearful of the stigma associated with an Ebola death in the family.

"People still wash and bury corpses at night. If we don't change our attitude, we are wasting our time," he told reporters in the capital Freetown.

Authorities deem the burial of an Ebola victim "safe" it has been carried out by specialist disposal teams within 24 hours of being reported.

During a visit this week, Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, congratulated Sierra Leone on having achieved its first day of 100% safe burials in the Western Area, the region encompassing Freetown.

The current Ebola outbreak has left almost 5 000 dead, nearly all in west Africa.

Read more on:    sierra leone  |  western africa  |  ebola

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.