Lockdown in Sierra Leone Ends With Hope

Bill boards like this are being displayed by various health partners of govt in an effort to stop the Ebola spread (3)
Bill boards like this are being displayed by various health partners of govt in an effort to stop the Ebola spread.

“We are having service in our various homes while the health workers and the National Ebola Task Force complete their work as required by the lockdown protocol,” Rev. Moses Conteh told West African Writers.  The UMC Sierra Leone Pastor said the lockdown was prompted by the failure of many families in Sierra Leone to report the cases of sick family members to the proper health authorities. The Price UMC Pastor confirmed that the lockdown is going well and will likely produce the right results in helping the Sierra Leone Government in the fight against the Ebola virus.

Teams engage households at Juba Hills in western Freetown
Teams engage households at Juba Hills in western Freetown

On the question of whether the lockdown and the overall exercise of door to door sensitization, search for the sick, and provision sanitizing products to families will achieve the best result, the Pastor said only an evaluation after the lockdown will tell us the real story of what we are going through right now. Sounding relieved on a telephone line to our reporter in Monrovia, Rev. Conteh who has his local church in Central Freetown said by Monday, September 22, 2014 we will be able to move about and how most of our church members are doing after the lockdown. “The lockdown will help the government to deal with the challenges of disbelief, denial, hiding of the sick, and refusal to heed preventive message in a significant way,” The Sierra Leonean clergyman concluded. Rev. Moses Conteh is one of the many individuals who are living with the experience of how the governments of the two neighboring countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone are dealing with the Ebola crisis. Rev. Conteh was in Monrovia working with the Tubman UMC of the Liberia Annual Conference when the Ebola saga started, but was able to get out before the closure of the border between the two countries.

Deserted streets in Freetown on day 1 of lockdown
Deserted streets in Freetown on day 1 of lockdown

Also speaking to WAW via telephone, Phileas Jusu, the Director of Communications of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference (SLAC) of the United Methodist Church confirmed the lockdown and the positive impact it will have on the country as the government and its partners try to fight against the Ebola virus. “Absolutely there are no movements around the country except for those who are authorized to do so,” the SLAC communications chief said. He however indicated that as a Journalist, he was able to move around with some of the authorized personnel and his findings are reported here: www.umc.org

Prior to the lockdown, several organizations including MSF criticized the action of the Sierra Leone government and said it was going to drive many underground and pointed out the negative impact that the lockdown was going to have on street children.

Reporting in Monvovia, E. Julu Swen for West African Writers                                                  Photos by Phileas Jusu, Sierra Leone UMC