An investigative news report has confirmed suspicions among some Sierra Leoneans that the UK is failing to get a handle on an effective response to Ebola while new infections are rising at the rate of almost 100 new cases a day.
“Why are the British here?” fumed one newspaper in a headline. “To end Ebola, or party?” The story continued: “While their American counterparts are working hard to end Ebola in Liberia, our so-called colonial masters are busy living the life of Riley.”
British officials strenuously deny the charge, saying their aid workers are working from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and are not even allowed a beer.
The investigation by a New York Times reporter found spanking new clinics with no patients, 60 out of 80 beds unused at the brand new Kerry Town Ebola clinic run by Save the Children, ambulances with no patients in them, and treatment centers with survivors held over in the clinics in order to take part in a huge goodbye photo op.
One recent Ebola survivor complained to a reporter: “I just wanted to get home and see my wife, but I had to wait eight extra days.”
Meanwhile, three doctors died from Ebola over a three-day period, shocking health officials. Dr. Aiah Solomon Konoyeima died Saturday, becoming the 10th Sierra Leonean physician to die of the virus and the third to die since Friday.
While growth projections for Sierra Leone by the World Bank have been plummeting, the World Bank Group President Dr Jim Yong Kim declined to pledge that the country’s burdensome foreign debt would be cut or reduced.
Speaking to journalists in Freetown, he said, “it’s not something that I can simply wave my hand and do that.” According to “Index Mundi”, the West African nation’s external debt amounts to $1.331 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013 with approximately $230 million owed to private creditors arising from non-payment on debts during the war which ended in 2002.
Finally, this month will see the launch of a new media initiative by renowned African soccer stars. “Africa United” will leverage “athletes, entertainers, corporates, government, media and sports organizations to distribute critical health messages to Ebola affected regions in West Africa.”
The campaign was launched Dec. 3 with the premiere of the “I’m No Hero” public service announcement at the Official Draw of the Africa Cup of Nations in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Kei Kamara with Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, said: “It’s impossible to sit by and watch the destruction Ebola is causing to Sierra Leone and other West African countries. It is devastating to see the fear and stigmatization of survivors in West Africa and even in the West… People think soccer stars are heroes, but I’m no hero: healthcare workers on the front lines of fighting Ebola in West Africa are the real heroes.” w/pix of K. Kamara