Sierra Leone government launches Zero Ebola Campaign

Sierra Leone government launches Zero Ebola Campaign

 

The Sierra Leone government has launched a Zero Ebola Campaign, which requires most residents to stay home the weekend of 27 March and the following three Saturdays. Commerce and trade will also be restricted during the shutdown times.

 

“Please keep us in your prayers, the entire country will go through lock down for the next three days beginning (27 March),” said Rev. Vidal Cole, the district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene in Sierra Leone.

 

 

   

Children wash their hands at a tap bucket provided by the Nazarene Church. (Photo: Africa West Field)



 

In a speech posted on the government’s website, President Ernest Bai Koroma called on the nation to “collectively strive to rid our country of this disease.”

 

“We have recorded one day of zero cases, but we need to stay at zero,” the president said. “Ebola has not yet been removed from Sierra Leone. The rainy season will soon be upon us and we risk the rate of transmission increasing if we still have Ebola in our communities during the rains.”

 

 

In the week leading up to 22nd March, Sierra Leone recorded 33 new confirmed cases of Ebola, the lowest number in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. That's down from 55 new cases the previous week.

 

 

The Zero Ebola Campaign calls for:

 

Residents to stay home from 6 a.m. Friday (27th March) to 6 p.m. Sunday (29th March). Christians will be allowed to attend church to celebrate Palm Sunday;

 

Residents to stay home on three consecutive Saturdays: 4th April, 11th April and 18th April;

 

No trading activities across the country during those times;

 

No restaurant, bar or beach activities during those times.

  

 

Proactive anti-Ebola efforts during the campaign with include:

 

Educating communities about the behaviors that lead to the spread of Ebola;

 

Encouraging behaviors that can prevent transmission, such as hand washing with soap and water;

 

Finding, isolating and treating Ebola cases through targeted door-to-door surveillance and contact tracing.

 

 

During the shutdown, so-called “essential workers” will be allowed to move about, such as health workers, private security staff, fuel station workers, foreign and domestic journalists, certain utility workers, and arriving and departing passengers to and from the Lungi Airport.

 

Sierra Leone has seen a total of about 11,840 Ebola cases, resulting in approximately 3,747 deaths, WHO reports. In total, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have seen an estimated 24,872 cases of Ebola and 10,311 deaths.

 

Nazarene churches in Sierra Leone and Liberia have also launched a campaign in the efforts against Ebola and the stigma it often creates. Learn more about the "21 and Free" campaign here.