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.

Sierra Leone hot salt water bath

By Umaru Fofana

It has become one of those where-were-you moments. The day on which Sierra Leone woke up to instructions - phoney or real - from nowhere, calling on people to bathe in hot salt water to cure or prevent themselves from the deadly Ebola sickness.

British Airways, please mind your ways

By Umaru Fofana

"At the initial stage the government of Sierra Leone failed to quarantine those areas that were affected by Ebola; now the world is quarantining the entire country".

This was how a friend of mine remarked in reaction to the suspending of flights to Freetown by some airlines as the deadly outbreak took a sinister twist.