Deactivating Ebola preparedness in Sierra Leone

By Dr. Alhaji N’jai, Sierra Leone

As we start the process of deactivating our Ebola Preparedness in Sierra Leone following Guinea’s declaration of an end to its 2021 outbreak, we convened a high level meeting of the multi-sectoral incident management team and partners to assess risk level, discuss what went well, what didn’t go well, lessons learnt, and a way forward.

As Deputy National Incident Manager for the Ebola Preparedness, a big congratulations to all my colleagues and partners for working so hard, responding to my high demands for action and ensuring we had no case to date in Sierra Leone. As many of our fellow compatriots went to bed, we work hard and quietly through the days and nights in all 16 districts on enhanced surveillance, IPC, lab, Case Management strategies, risk communication and community engagement, and vaccinations.

Guinea has officially declared the outbreak over and we are thankful that this time our preparedness was on point to handle spill overs or any case that emerged in Sierra Leone. I am encouraged by the total Sierra Leonean lead efforts and the capacity we are building locally. The coordination of this incident has been hailed by colleagues at the MOHS Directorate of Health Securities and Emergencies as a model for emergency operations coordination.

As most of the structures from the previous Ebola were non-existent, we have completed rapid assessments of all 16 districts, develop an incident action plan, establish plans to build capacity in all districts, strengthened all pillar activities in all 16 districts, vaccinated over 8,000 health care and frontline workers in all 16 districts (first country to do so in region), simulation exercises and drills in all 16 districts, and rollout an incident management system for all districts. Given that Ebola is endemic to the region and its resurgence is inevitable, we will continue being vigilant, build systems and capability, while we move onto deactivation phase. Many thanks to everyone, family and friends for your understanding during my absence at events.

Courtesy of The Patriotic Vanguard 14th July 2021

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