Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ebola Report

Hope and continued concern. Saidu is assisting the Makeni mayor provide support to Ebola survivors in Makeni and we have received photos and report of delivery of rice. Meanwhile, in Paki Masabong, we hear that deaths from Ebola continue but that the chiefdom has a solid plan in place. We thank the many friends and family who have contributed to purchase of rice, safety materials, youth stipend and other forms of support to friends in Sierra Leone. 

Chief Kebombor sends the following message:
Dear Carolyn, Saidu and Friends,
Thanks so much for the care and concern shown to us during this difficult time. The current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak has multitude of impacts on the livelihoods of our people of Paki-Masabong chiefdom, our agricultural production and our food security drive. Our farmers' income from agriculture has dropped. Due to transport restrictions and the closure of our weekly markets, they struggle to sell their produce. Similarly, household incomes from other sources such as petty trading and service delivery have decreased. This is attributed to the strict regulations imposed by government in a bid to contain the rapid spread of the EVD in Sierra Leone coupled with the sudden death of family members, the unavailability of farm inputs as well as the lack of labor.

As trends indicate, the situation is likely to worsen in the course of the next months. We expect serious food shortages to hit the chiefdom. So many farmers are not able to harvest their products because of they are on quarantined status. Weekly markets for our rural farmers have shown to have an enormous socio-economic relevance in our chiefdom. They drive economic development and supply the needs of our communities who cannot fully self-sustain themselves. Should the restrictions remain in place food will become increasingly scarce and expensive. The incomes of our communities will continue to drop, harvests continue to fall and the people affected by the EVD continue to suffer from a low availability of and a limited access to food.

This Ebola outbreak also has a significant impact on the well-being of those affected within our chiefdom, our families, community members and the health workers treating people with Ebola. Our communities are severely affected by Ebola disease in many ways. People are now separated from their loved ones, due to illness or death. Those associated with Ebola are vulnerable to social stigma, worsening their distress and isolation. Ultimately, whole communities now experience the fear and suffering the disease outbreak has caused. Although these events affect everyone in some way, people in the chiefdom now experience a wide range of reactions. They feel overwhelmed, confused or very uncertain about what is happening. They feel fearful and anxious, or numb and detached. Some people have mild reactions, whereas others may have more severe reactions. It is also important to remember that Ebola has influenced how we normally provide support to each other (e.g., by not being able to touch people) and how we cope with the death of our loved ones (e.g., by not being able to engage in traditional burials). This has severely worsened our people’s distress.

Denial is prevalent on the fight against Ebola. Denial is still strong in our communities. Sometimes denial is as a result of the fact that the disease itself strongly challenges our treasured values of respect for the dead, solidarity, handshake and hospitality. Most importantly, denial is as a result of levels of illiteracy. One off sensitization is never enough. Daily and continues reminders of the disease to illiterate or semi-literate rural community people is the only way. Also the much public education campaign with aim to reduce the chain of transmission and levels of denial even amongst educated folks is equally a huge challenge as the disease has much misconceptions and cynical theories eve amongst elites.

Finally, quarantined homes within our chiefdom are facing direct problems of food shortages and better hygiene. Government and WFP are doing their bits but never enough. So therefore our quarantined homes need support in rice, and other cooking ingredients, soap for regular washing of hands, chlorine and any other assorted items that could help reduce psychosocial trauma for the affected homes quarantined within the chiefdom.

Once again, I thank you on behalf of the chiefdom for all that you have done and continue to do for us. Attached to this is list of some of the key items needed to support quarantine homes within the chiefdom.

Sincerely yours,
Paramount Chief Kebombor ll
Paki-Masabong Chiefdom

 Items needed to support quarantined homes in our chiefdom

1 Gloves
2 Infrared thermometers
3 Rice
4 Cooking oil
5 Other cooking ingredients (Maggie, onions, salt etc.)
6 Flashlights and batteries
8 Cooking charcoal
9 Sugar
10 Soap
11 Chlorine

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