FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, 30 OCTOBER 2014 – The Head of the National Ebola Response Centre, Steven Gaojia, and the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Sierra Leone, Amadu Kamara, went to Port Loko to witness first-hand the efforts being made by the Government and the international community to stop the Ebola outbreak in the district.
Mr. Kamara and the National Ebola Response Coordinator (NERC), Mr. Gaojia, were joined in their visit by UNICEF Representative, Roeland Monasch, World Food Programme (WFP) Representative, Gon Myers, and several World Health Organization (WHO) response leaders.
“The United Nations’ task in the Ebola response is to amplify the impressive work that the government, foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, business partners and others are already doing on the ground,” Kamara stated during the visit. “We aim to bring together the full range of UN actors and expertise to help these ongoing national efforts to control the disease. We will be working in line with the national plan and fill in the gaps where necessary.”
The delegation visited some of the key sites in the effort to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Port Loko, one of the country’s hotspots with more than 500 cases confirmed since May.
The officials went to the first two WHO-run Community Care Centres (CCC) in the country, which are expected to start accepting patients next week. CCCs were designed to bring a holistic approach to isolation and care by engaging the communities themselves in the fight against Ebola. UNMEER and its partners are planning to replicate these pilot facilities across the country with the target of achieving 70% of isolation and care by 1 December.
Another step in the visit was Port Loko’s Forward Logistics Base (FLB), run by WFP, and which harbours supplies for the region’s upcoming CCCs, including tents and protective equipment.
“UNMEER is here to provide logistical assistance and support medical and social mobilization efforts,” said the Head of the UNMEER. “We will also help develop existing healthcare facilities across Sierra Leone, including testing centres, treatment and community care facilities, and training centres for healthcare workers.”
Finally, the NERC Coordinator and the UN officials visited the newly-opened Command and Control Centre, in charge of coordinating burials and ambulance pick-ups in the district. The facility is co-run by the District Medical Officer and the UK, and supported by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO.