How Ebola exposed UN and Sierra Leone government

By Umaru Fofana

It looks like a re-enactment of what obtained in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s and at the turn of the millennium. A United Nations mission that seemed confused about what to do and often letting its guard down, a government that was out of its depth, a rebel outfit that was ravaging the population, and the British military intervention that was to save the day.

Saluting Sierra Leone's Ebola Burial Teams

By Umaru Fofana

Ibrahim, not his real name, stood at Bolling Street which - in normal times - splits the Kingtom cemetery between Muslims and Christians, freshly bathed. Like his other half a dozen or so colleagues. It was approaching 6:00 PM. His day's duty was ending. It looked as if he was having a second bath - this time with chlorine and other disinfectants. They looked cheerful - despite the gut-wrenching job they do for a living.

Opening up Sierra Leone's Ebola lockdown

By Umaru Fofana

18-year-old Isha Turay is a secondary school pupil who hawks on the busy Malama Thomas Street in the central business district of Freetown. She and her younger and elder siblings sell vegetables that cost Le 1,000 each. But enough for them to eke out a living literally from hand to mouth.

Sierra Leone's Ebola Victims' Fund

By Umaru Fofana

On a local bench she sat. Just outside the Ebola treatment ward in Kenema. She looked pensive - apparently lost in some puzzlement. I later learned that she had just knocked off for the day and was waiting for a friend so they would go home. Since she was not in uniform, I had thought her to be a relative of someone admitted inside the makeshift structure just behind her, which served as ward for Ebola patients.

Sierra Leone locked up in a lockdown

By Umaru Fofana

In a rather uncoordinated and disjointed manner news filtered through on Friday and over the weekend that Government and "its partners" in the fight against Ebola had decided to keep everybody in Sierra Leone indoors.

Initial report quoting presidential aide, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo had said that it would last for four days - 18 to 21 September. That was apparently later revised downward to three days with the 18th being the launch date and deployment of some 21,000 people.

Sierra Leone: Soldiers and RUF, Medics and Ebola

By Umaru Fofana

Yesterday - Monday 1 September - nurses at Sierra Leone's main referral hospital went on strike. 24 hours earlier nurses and other health workers at the country's only public-run Ebola treatment centre in Kenema had also gone on strike. In both cases and places it was over non-payment of allowances.