''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 5

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Monday September 15, 2014 - We are sad, very very sad. We have lost another doctor as the fight to contain the Ebola scourge rages. We have lost Dr Olivette Buck - a woman who had been in the frontlines in the battle against this nasty and all-invading beast. We have lost a woman who was determined to give her all in the fight. We mourn the passing away of Dr Buck and we pray that the Good Lord will grant her the rest that she truly deserves. Rest In Peace.The late Dr Olivette Buck. She died in the frontlines in the battle against the dreaded Ebola scourge. The 4th and the first female doctor to succumb to the ravages of the treacherous disease. RIP.The late Dr Olivette Buck with husband Canon Jenner Buck. Picture: Awoko

We had to hold the front page yesterday as news of the death of Dr Olivette Buck began filtering through. We at first hoped and prayed that it was just another false rumour generated from the mills - but as the day wore on - it became clear that indeed we had lost another frontline battle commander in the fight against the terrible and vicious Ebola scourge. What is now emerging it seems, is the satanic antics of a government "information" set up to deny all interested persons the true picture of the afflicted, the dying and the dead in Sierra Leone.

We have noted with unease that you only read of prominent fighters in the frontline - the doctors. Now we know, and we have highlighted this when and where we can, that other health delivery personnel who braved everything have also succumbed. They died because they had not been provided with the necessary tools to diagnose, isolate and treat real people with the affliction.

We saw this on the pages of one news outlet, the Global Times - it is about health delivery workers not getting their allowances as well as, most importantly, the necessary protective clothing and diagnostic tools.

"This led Nurses attached to the Connaught Hospital in Freetown on Monday 1st September 2014 to go on strike for what they referred to as ‘lack of proper and sufficient protective gears” and more importantly they are yet to be given their risk allowances as of Monday as agreed by Government’.

Speaking to Global Times at the main entrance of the Hospital, a female Nurse said what actually led to the strike action was that their colleague, Hajara Serry died of the Ebola Virus past Sunday in Kenema after contracting the disease at Connaught Hospital on Friday. The Nurse lamented that their lives are currently in danger and called on the Government to double its effort to address their concerns.

She noted that it is because of the love they have for the work that is why they are still going to work to support Government’s effort to have a healthy environment. “I will say to you that our lives are in danger as I speak. The Government cannot succeed in this fight without giving us the necessary support we deserve”, the female Nurse noted. However, the Hospital Management together with Senior Doctors called the Nurses to an important meeting on Monday to find a speedy solution to the problem.

Latest reports say the Nurses at Connaught have received their overdue allowances after the intervention of State House.

Why do we need this so-called intervention from State House? It means there's no system in place that should address immediate needs relating to problems in an emergency. This effectively gives State House (read the rat) power over who gets treated and by extension power over life and death. What a situation!!! And we have to remind the rat and his cabal that we had a similar situation during the time of the former head of the army turned President, the late Joseph Saidu Momoh. It was a time when the then Inspector-General of Police, one James Bambay Kamara was the man at the centre of things when trouble erupted - from school children demonstrating against government policies to doctors and nurses on strike.

On the passing away of Dr Olivette Buck, the Sierra Leone Telegraph had this one line and grim heading - Dr. Olivette Buck is dead - and goes on - "After several days of desperate, frantic efforts and pleas for president Koroma to spend some of the vast amount of money that he and his wife have collected from private donations, as well as from international aid to save the life of Sierra Leone’s first female doctor to contract the Ebola virus, she is now confirmed dead. Rather than dig deep into their moral conscience and do what is right, State House instead had chosen to sit and watch Dr. Buck die, just as they presided over the death of Dr. Khan, Dr. Modupe Cole, and Dr. Rogers – four of Sierra Leone’s finest handful of doctors.

History will not judge president Koroma kindly, nor will the people of Sierra Leone ever forget the fact that he has now become known as the weakest and most docile of presidents, to ever occupy State House. For a head of state to be weak, docile and inept is one thing, but to lose that one critical leadership quality that sets heroes apart from the chaffs, is something else. And that something else can only be described in two words: immorality and hubris"

On the pages of AWOKO, we have this - an indication of how a decrepit and not fit for purpose health delivery system, going down the drain failed to take care of one of its own, Nurse Hajara Serry -

"A close male friend of the late nurse, Abu Bakarr Dakowa expressed his saddest experience ever in his life, while he painfully watched his loved one travelled to eternity. He said that to the time of his presence in the ward, no thorough medical attention was accorded to his friend. He lamented that while the late nurse was on drip and wanted to use the ladies’, there was no health worker to aid her. Instead, she struggled aiding herself in removing the I.V injection in a bid to attend to nature.

On her return from the ladies’, he explained, she nervously attempted to re-administer the drip, and in the process, she bled profusely, as she continuously missed her vein in trying to do so.

He testified that to the time he was asked to leave the hospital at around 11 pm, no health worker was there to give the nurse due attention. He claimed that he had been told that the late nurse was only going to be given treatment if an Ebola test was conducted. As a result, he asserted, “even the common care that used to be given to patients was denied the nurse.”

The following morning; Saturday 30th August, he said, they watched (parents and loved ones) when the late nurse was helplessly brought out of the ward on a stretcher and dumped in a nearby ambulance that had been well-fumigated in their presence; and then whisked off, with no health worker explaining to them what had happen. However, what now remains a concern to relatives of the deceased nurse is that if ever the nurse died of Ebola, why have they not been told? Why has the team not quarantined their home or check their status, since the late nurse lived with them, So that plans could have been put in place from the very day of her death, to prevent the spread of the disease?"

Now if we are witnessing such over top guns, we are just terribly frightened that many ordinary citizens, the unconnected and poor would be dying and being buried without due acknowledgement never mind the fact that they would never have been accorded due respect and the proper medical attention. And so while reflecting we had these lines on our Sunday front page for Sunday September 14, 2014 -

"It is another holy day in the life of Christians and knowing how we blend so well in times of trouble, it is a day when believers of all faiths as well as non-believers are asked to join hands in praying for the nation. Pray that the evil that is squeezing the life out of our brothers and sisters, children, father and mothers - the Ebola evil would be defeated. Let us all pray. This is no time for any cut and paste "sermons".

We have heard it said and written before. That faith must be accompanied by good deeds and as we pray, asking the Good Lord, Allah or whatever you perceive the Almighty to be, let us also endeavour to present practical solutions to a killer that attacks, in the most vicious manner, any who steps in its vicious and treacherous march to squeeze the life blood out of its victims.

Ebola is not an ordinary killer. It is vicious, deceptive and spares none and until we can get our acts together, go back to the drawing board and decide on practical means and ways of halting the march of this vicious beast in our midst, the battle would be long and hard. This is the reason why we frown at any and all attempts by any group of persons to use our time of weakness as a period for scoring political points. We need positive action, real action on the ground that would show that we are serious about halting the march of this vicious and silent enemy that inflicts great pain on victims before finishing them off in the most horrendous of manners of execution.

Ebola is a terrorist that has to be eliminated and to see individuals lining up for a photo opportunity with the rat at State House as they handed over what they say is their contribution to "the fight against Ebola" is a sore sight. There's a passage somewhere in the Good Book which says that such action does not go down well with the Great One above. "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.…"

There's an account opened by the rat and his type at banks within and without the country. Kindly do what is to be done and not use the cry of help from the people as the ideal opportunity to be seen putting a gift into the ever-hungry outstretched paws/claws of the greedy rat at State House.

We have noticed, with some amount of trepidation, actions by ruling party activists that tend to give credence to critics of the rat, that the government is still not taking the Ebola fight as seriously as it should.

In neighbouring Liberia, President Sirleaf gave officials out of the country a week to be back or get their marching orders as she asked all her ministers and officials to join hands and ideas in the fight against the scourge in her country. The BBC reports -

"Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sacked 10 government officials who have been "out of the country without an excuse," amid a national Ebola crisis. She said the officials had shown "insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority". The 10 were given a one-week ultimatum more than a month ago to return home. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are the worst-hit countries in an outbreak that has killed more than 2,400.

The 10 officials include two commissioners, six assistant ministers and two deputy ministers at the justice ministry. The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh says a press release issued from the presidency on Saturday reported that the officials had been fired "with immediate effect". The press release went on: "Junior officials who are not subject to presidential approval will forfeit all compensation and benefits until they return home to join in the fight against the Ebola virus disease." It listed the names of eight people in the category. That's positive and no-nonsense action from a President who is also facing the rampaging and devastating Ebola scourge.

In Sierra Leone we read reports of government officials travelling abroad at the expense of dying taxpayers on one pretext or the other with the rat's chief advocate for an illegal third term one Balogun Koroma who also doubles as Transport minister. He is at the head of a delegation in Russia talking about a mere MOU, Memorandum of Understanding with some dubious entity to create a new railway!!!. He and others are out of the country at a time when all hands are needed on deck - especially officials who feed fat from the resources of the ordinary and afflicted Sierra Leoneans.

We also note another unusual if not cruel twist - health officials abandoned their wards and patients to fill seats reserved for the public in Parliament to witness that august body approve the new Health minister and a deputy to boot whose only credential is that she is an offspring of the Siaka Stevens APC era. We would stop at that as the poor lady was "appointed" by the hapless rat who saw this as rewarding the sons and daughters of the old party activists some of whom were around and approved of the Ginger Hall attacks on the opposition party enclave in that part of the city. Remember Mammy Nancy of the SLPP at Ginger Hall and the fire which raged as one Alfred Akibo-Betts and his thugs attacked?

We saw this from the pages of AWOKO and wondered just how serious the government was in the fight against Ebola -

"Almost every chair was occupied by either a Medical Doctor, a Matron, a staff nurse or a midwife; while parents and well-wishers grabbed the few seats that had been spared. While commending the President for such “brilliant” appointments, however, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu did express worries over the large turnout of nurses at the House in a health emergency situation like the one the country is experiencing at the moment.

He said that nurses should be in the hospital tending to patients who need them most at this crucial time. But one of the nurses who was met joyously marching along the corridors of Parliament said, “We are literally here to show solidarity and appreciation for the appointment of our colleagues. These appointments are new to us in the health service, and we are here to demonstrate our love for them.” 

What nonsense, what balderdash!!! The whole thing was organised by ruling party executives in honour of that daughter of a former APC party stalwart in the east of the capital. The new Health Minister had nothing to do with it. He had been the voice of the ministry after Miatta Koroma made a number of unfortunate statements that exposed her inadequacy when it comes to management of the health delivery system.

To have allowed nurses, doctors and other health delivery personnel to abandon their stations and fill in the seats of the House in a show of ruling party support for the appointments made by the rat goes a long way to show that in reality, the rat and his cabal are an uncaring, unpatriotic, selfish and greedy lot fit for the sewers that are the ideal abode of rats of such nature.

What a shame, what a display of heartlessness, of a lack of compassion for the sick, the dying and the dead!!!!

UPDATE - We have just seen this picture at the top and story on the pages of AWOKO on the death of Dr Olivette Buck and its aftermath. We pray that the Lord Almighty will strengthen members of the family as they try to get to grips with this unexpected tragedy. To our brother Canon Jenner Buck we say - Courage brother and keep the faith. The Good Lord knows best.



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