The Communication Pillar Lead for Pujehun District Ebola Response Committee, Mr. Cecil Macaulay has confirmed to the Awareness Times that Pujehun has gone above 42 days without any Ebola case. He informed that despite the success story, they are intensifying their strategies to constantly be on top of situation until the whole country eradicates the Ebola scourge.
Pujehun District registered the first and last Ebola cases on 27th July and 26th November 2014. There were 31 confirmed Ebola cases, 24 deaths and 7 survivors in the district since the outbreak started in May last year.
Through telephone line, Mr. Cecil Macaulay said Pujehun had its first Ebola cases at 2 different locations, Kortumahun village in Barri Chiefdom and Sahn Town in Malen Chiefdom in July last year respectively. According to him, all initial and last Ebola cases have travelling history from Bo, Kenema and Waterloo but no epi-link from Liberia since the outbreak started last year.
According to him, Dumange Village located some 12 miles away from Zimmi in the Makpele Chiefdom emerged as the hot Ebola spot. He stated that Makpele alone represents a total of 67.74% of Ebola confirmed cases in Pujehun District.
"We quickly tried as best as possible to contain the spread of the disease in Dumange" he revealed.
The Communication Pillar Lead said as cases were coming up, in the district, they instituted drastic measures by stages. Firstly he said they, identified and visited all potential Ebola hotspots including Jendema/Bo Waterside (the main border crossing point between Liberia and Sierra Leone), Bendu Village, Lelima, Zimmi, Gbondapi weekly Market center, and Sahn Malen Town. Soon after that, he said they established a district taskforce in order to prevent any spill over or spread of the Ebola disease.
In their next strategy he said they visited specific chiefdoms that border hotspots including Barri, Makpele, Pejeh and Sowa.
He went on; Save the Children also conducted training session for 1,019 Peripheral Health Unit staff on infection, Prevention and Control to enhance their robust strategy.
"International cross border meetings on medical measures were also held in Liberia and Sierra Leone" he disclosed.
He informed that after an assessment tour in all chiefdoms, they decided to close down all weekly market days in the district, mounted Ebola checkpoints, and religious leader made temporarily closure of all houses of worship.
"All our decisions were taken prior to the Presidential Proclamation on State of Health Emergency" he posited.
He disclosed that local and international partners including the government quickly intervened and established 2 holding centers in Zimmi and Pujehun towns and further preposition logistics.
"We were well prepared, the forces came onboard and chiefdoms and district taskforces volunteered to conduct surveillance, monitor and observe" he maintained.
He disclosed that all Ebola cases were effectively managed by the authorities and the residents. According to him there are strong agreement and collaboration on compliance between the residents and the authorities in the fight against the disease in the district.
"Everybody is participating to contain the deadly disease in Pujehun" he assured adding that "the indigenes put away their differences and focused on eradicating Ebola with unity, compassion, vigilance, determination and love"
He commended the Pujehun District Descendants Association comprising indigenes living out of the district as well as abroad, the Socfin Agricultural Company, China Kingho Investment, Government, local and international partners, political leaders and prominent members of Pujehun for their supports.
Finally he said they are planning a Memorandum of Understanding between Pujehun in Sierra Leone and Grand Cape Mount County in Liberia on Ebola.
"Negotiations are ongoing and we are preparing the document in order to improve in surveillance, information sharing and reporting to both sides" he revealed.
He concluded by saying that in frontline chiefdoms, they are strengthening their plans to intensify and put more drastic measures against the disease.