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The Presidential Task Force on Cholera has met at State House to follow up on the last meeting where Cholera was declared as an emergency by His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at the Presidential Lodge, Hill Station, Freetown.
At the first meeting chaired by President Koroma, it was noted that efforts to combat the disease must be scaled up on the humanitarian and emergency assistance front, a Presidential Task Force should be set up and coordinated by the Office of the Chief of Staff, terms of reference for the Task Force should also be mapped out, including specific responsibilities of MDAs and line Ministries in the fight against cholera, which has now affected eleven districts nationwide.
According to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Dr Kaifala Marrah, (in photo) stakeholders in the health sector, including civil society and the inter-religious council, should now focus on tackling the issue of cholera rather than politicising it. “Is it an indictment on our environmental and sanitation strategies or what will be the role of our line ministries in terms of pulling our resources together?”, he rhetorically asked.
Dr Kaifala Marrah called on members of the Task Force to come up with a distinct strategy to forestall this kind of attack both in the medium and long term.
The head of Disease Control and Prevention in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr A. Jambai noted in his presentation on the state of the Cholera outbreak in the country that, if action is not taken now, unnecessary lives will be lost and resources meant for other developmental strides will be diverted to saving lives. He revealed that the Ministry is in the process of packaging it’s response to combat the malaise.
The Health Advisor in the Office of the President, Miatta Kargbo in her presentation on the Inter-Ministerial Response and Coordination to combat cholera, urged government and all stakeholders to intensify the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as well as the chlorination of wells to ensure safe rural water supply.
Ms. Miatta Kargbo also encouraged effective communication with partners in the implementation, mobilisation and sensitisation of the WASH, Open Defecation Free Programme, etc. She called on stakeholders to replicate efforts at the local community level to keep the disease at bay.
In conclusion, Miatta Kargbo also called on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to release funds to implement MDA activities and support district, chiefdom and community interventions to combat cholera in the country.
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