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Showing posts from August, 2014

Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah is nominated as Sierra Leone's next Minister of Health and Sanitation

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State House announced Friday that President Koroma has nominated Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah as Sierra Leone’s next Health and Sanitation Minister, replacing Miatta Barlay Kargbo. Fofanah is expected to be confirmed.

In this archive photo, Dr. Fofanah smiles during a parliamentary appointments committee session in January 2013. Fofanah was appointed deputy health minister. According to Awareness Times, he sailed through the appointments hearing.Fofanah trained at Sierra Leone’s College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and earned a string of  degrees as well as experience in the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone, in which two countries he is qualified to practice medicine, the paper said. Fofanah also lectures at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences  and assured the committee members that he will still devote time to provide lectures to the country’s budding medical doctors. According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, Sierra Leone has two doctors for every 1…

Faces of Courage | "Oh Nurses and Burial Boys, Someday Salone will Sing Songs About You"

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People like Josephine Finda Sellu and Kandeh Kamara are a few of the faces of courage in Sierra Leone's battle against Ebola. They are the little-known men and women working  behind the scenes to help a nation beat back a killer virus. Sellu, 42, is a senior nurse at the Kenema Government Hospital, and Kamara, 21, is one of about 20 young men doing one of the dirtiest jobs in the Ebola campaign: finding and burying corpses across eastern Sierra Leone. Nurse Sellu and the group of young men, many who were onetime students and taxidrivers, were featured in a New York Times article that has struck a chord around the world.

Below are some of the many comments left by readers. Read, be inspired and take action. Help!


The photo of Josephine Finda Sellu, the deputy nurse matron dealing with ebola patients and losing so many of her nursing staff, is one of the most beautiful, impressive and touching photos I can recall seeing in the Times. Compliments to the photographer and to the staf…

Ebola Decisions Trigger Domino Effect

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Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that the Ebola virus now threatens to cripple three economies with a combined gross domestic product of about $13 billion.

Commodity companies are slowing production, and airlines are shutting routes. In Liberia, the government says the epidemic threatens to derail progress made since the end of the civil war in 2003. Sierra Leone has canceled its first sale of bonds open to foreigners.
Today, Senegal defended the closure of its border with Guinea, despite warnings that such measures are counterproductive, reports the BBC. The World Health Organization (WHO) says travel bans do not work, especially if they stop doctors going to help tackle the crisis. Senegal's Health Minister Dr Eva Marie Colle Seck told the BBC that the WHO was "learning, like everybody [else]".

"The scale of the outbreak is much larger than anything ever seen before," said Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman. "It is an obvious source of concern and it is n…

One slip...A momentary lapse | New Details About How Sheik Humarr Khan Died

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Sheik Humarr Khan died on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 after falling ill earlier the same week while overseeing Ebola treatment at Kenema Government Hospital, about 185 miles east of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

 "Dr. Khan was an extremely determined and courageous doctor who cared deeply for his patients," Doctors Without Borders said in a statement. "His work and dedication have been greatly appreciated by the medical community in Sierra Leone for many years. He will be remembered and missed by many, especially by the doctors and nurses that worked with him. MSF's sincere thoughts and condolences are with Dr. Khan's family, friends and colleagues."

Khan was reportedly meticulous in donning personal protection eqipment (PPE), and believed that the only transmission vector of ebola was close contact. Six weeks before his death he gave a wide-ranging interview to Politico May 18, 2014. Here's what he said about precaution:

"All what I am saying …

Friday's Khutbah with Mohamed Gibril Sesay | Women, Soutoura, and the Ebola Tragedy

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According to UNICEF, women account for 55 to 60 percent of the deceased in the current epidemic in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. “Women constitute a large section of the health workers and are on the frontlines of this crisis,” Sia Nyama Koroma, first lady of Sierra Leone, told  Washington Post in a telephone interview this week. Understanding the role gender plays in an Ebola epidemic is crucial, health experts said.

Here Sierra Leonean commentator and presidential adviser Mohamed Gibril Sesay looks deeper at why women are most affected in the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

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Funerals are commentaries, not only on the lives of the dead but also on the values of the living. And also upholding these values could, as we are witnessing during this Ebola outbreak, bring further tragedy; whilst at the same time not upholding them also brings anguish, and feelings of not having fulfilled one’s duties.

May be, you read Antigone, that play by Sophocles about the woman who was struck by tr…

Ebola: Speaking the unspeakable?

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Professor Cecil Blake is a regular commentator on a listserv focused on Sierra Leonean issues. The forum was born out of the desire to connect subscribers from all over the world, who take an interest in issues that affect Sierra Leone in order to allow them to exchange ideas and discuss topical issues freely. Dr. Blake served as Minister of Information in the Tejan Kabbah administration. Below is his latest comment on the Ebola contagion. 



Not too long ago I made a contribution to the Ebola debate with the subject heading: "Ebola: An addendum." In that posting, I introduced a sensitive topic--traditional funeral rites (burials) and implications for the spread of the disease.

In my last couple of postings I made reference to the Minister of Health and suggested that she should be reassigned a cabinet portfolio. That suggestion is a modification of the concerns I had expressed earlier about keeping the same team in tact that is responsible for the dangerous situation in which…

Andrena Sawyer: NextGen U.S.-Africa leader

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Andrena Sawyer isn't a household name just yet but remember you read it here first.The oldest of three girls, she was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Her family moved to the United States when she was nine years old, fleeing the civil war that left thousands dead and untold numbers maimed and internally displaced.

At age 15 and settled in her new country, Andrena founded "Teens Trying to Make a Difference," an organization for young people in central New Jersey. As a freshman at Howard University, she launched “Rock, the MIC,” an outreach for youth in Washington, D.C. These experiences, she told Sewa News, laid the foundation and defined her passion for bringing about change in the lives of people.

In an interview conducted by e-mail and on Twitter, Andrena talks about work, life, and business. Andrena is president and chief executive officer of P.E.R.K. Consulting.

I first got into consulting after a brief [period] in law school. At that time, I was going through some …

Tribute to Ammah Harley | Support Memorial Ultrasound Technician Scholarship Fund

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Family and friends are still responding to the shocking death of 33-year-old Ammah Harley who was found dead by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office in Hughesville, Maryland on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. This week, a scholarship fund was set up to celebrate her life and legacy. The hope is that applicants be imbued with Ammah's commitment to learning, and respectful appreciation of life.

The Ammah Harley Memorial Ultrasound Technician Scholarship will be granted to an ultrasound student to help them complete their program and board exams. Donations are currently being accepted with the hopes that a $2,500 dollar scholarship can be awarded.

Ammah was a registered ultrasound technician. Over the span of her professional career, she worked with the Charles Regional Medical Center, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, and also served in the United States Army. Ammah was an alumna of the College of Southern Maryland, Sanford-Brown, and Springfield High School, Illinois.

Ultrasound technicians, als…

Diaspora Community Prayer and Memorial Service

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In honor of the late Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, family and friends in Philadelphia and Maryland will observe a prayer and memorial service Sunday, August 03, 2014.

PLACE:    Beltsville Academy
                4300 Wicomico Avenue                 Beltsville, Maryland 20705

TIME:      1pm - 7 pm ---

Sierra Leone on Thursday buried the doctor hailed as a "national hero" for saving the lives of more than 100 Ebola patients before succumbing himself to the killer disease.

Umar Khan, 43, the nation's sole virologist, was at the forefront of his country's fight against the epidemic, which has seen more than 700 deaths in west Africa.


He was laid to rest in the eastern town of Kenema, where he had spent much of his working life, in a Muslim ceremony attended by family, friends, local dignitaries, aid workers and health officials.