S Leone govt 'has failed in handling Ebola'

2014-07-21 14:27

(Shutterstock)

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

Freetown - Religious leaders in Sierra Leone criticised the government's handling of an Ebola outbreak that has killed 194 people in the West Africac country, saying a lack of information was prompting rural communities to shun medical help.

Bishop John Yambasu, chairperson of an interfaith task force, said he was "seriously disappointed" the government had failed to declare a public health emergency and pump more resources into the fight against Ebola, which has infected 400 people in the country during a regional epidemic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said last week that Ebola had killed 603 people in total in Sierra Leone and neighbouring Guinea and Liberia since February, the world's deadliest outbreak of the disease.

The highest number of deaths in recent weeks had been recorded in Sierra Leone, the WHO said. It warned of resistance from remote rural communities to allowing access to doctors amid fears that outsiders were spreading the disease.

New cases

"Every day in this country the number of new cases is increasing. To us as religious leaders that is unacceptable," Yambasu, head of the United Methodist Church of Sierra Leone, told Reuters. He said the government was too concerned by the "political connotations" of declaring an emergency.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo has said the Ebola outbreak is "a serious matter" but has not reached emergency levels.

Amid a lack of funds to fight the outbreak, dozens of laboratory technicians at Sierra Leone's only Ebola-testing facility went on strike last week over a $20 monthly risk premium which they were promised but never paid.

Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea and was first detected in Democratic Republic of Congo in the mid-1970s. Spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids, it is one of the deadliest viruses, killing up to 90% of those infected, and has no known cure.

Lack of information

Yambasu said that in Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone - the epicentre of the outbreak - locals had dug trenches to bar ambulances and police from accessing their communities. Many locals regard being taken to an isolation ward as a death sentence.

"It is likely that people are dying in the bush" due to lack of information about the disease, he said, adding that leaving those infected in their communities was encouraging the virus to spread.

Yambasu said religious leaders would preach in their churches and mosques for a change of attitude towards the disease and would visit the centre of the outbreak and call for change.

Sierra Leone's religious leaders played a leading role in ending a brutal 1991-2002 civil war.

"It is as a result of our experiences of the past that we have invited ourselves into this Ebola struggle," he said.
Read more on:    world health organisation  |  sierra leone  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too far...read more

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.