From the Editor’s Keyboard

As schools and colleges reopen Monday vigilance is necessary

By  | 13 April 2015 at 01:37 | 2333 views

Schools and other institutions of higher learning in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea endured an imposed eight month long break due to the unprecedented and dangerous assault of the Ebola virus disease that claimed thousands innocent lives and left huge dents in the lives of individual Sierra Leoneans and the nation’s socioeconomic and political health in visible disarray.

Those in the healthcare profession invariably paid a very dear price. Women and children suffered immensely too, being the most vulnerable sectors of the population during times of crisis. Sad memories of the rebel war still haunt them. The advent of EVD became another terrible war they endured and were hopelessly unprepared to deal with it.

On Monday April 13 schools and colleges will reopen to the reality that life will never be the same again. There’s much to dwell on and grieve about other than students returning to school with fun, laughter and mixed feelings to pursue their studies.

The hurdles are formidable ones and facing them requires a good support system that will help considerably in handling them conscientiously and reasonably.

There’s presently an acute water shortage in Freetown that’s not due to natural causes. But the water supply infrastructure is in terrible state of disrepair and almost dilapidated, as the demand for water far outstrips supply.

Currently, poor people are frustrated as access to clean, safe drinking water is a big challenge. Even those with private pipe borne water system have to wake up late at night or early morning to fetch water outside for daily domestic consumption. The pipes are outdated, ruined and run dry incessantly during the day.

Water borne diseases like typhoid are a big threat and could be the next health epidemic or emergency. Prompt action is vital right now. I lost a cousin to the disease, during the peak of the EVD crisis.

Harmful bacteria could be treated with antibiotics. All people that pass away at the height of the Ebola epidemic were buried like an Ebola victims, even when test results confirmed they were Ebola negative as in the case of my cousin.

With Ebola infection rates are waning drastically and such a practice should now be eliminated. Thanks to the British, Chinese, Americans, NGOs and Cubans who played Herculean roles and made giant sacrifices to help us reach this point with dynamism and optimism.

The journey was not a pleasant or easy one. Evidently, Sierra Leone can now see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

We hope that the authorities and each citizen will be more vigilant in reporting poor or lack of sanitation facilities around the nation as the children and students return to school to pursue their dreams of becoming useful members of society,fully equipped with the necessary skills for gainful employment on completion of their studies.

It’s necessary that running water is available in every institution to reduce the danger of any form of infection. Health works should be provided to ensure that full compliance is followed to the letter. It is necessary that as a nation we do things right and free of politics or self motivated personal interest or gain.The youth deserve our protection and support to feel proud as Sierra Leoneans again.

Too often the nation has disappointed them in times of crisis. Defeating Ebola and its attendant calamites is a collective crusade we should all fight at both national and international frontiers. It is in the interest of humanity, for we live in a global community and we have much more in common than we are different.

Time to drive the last nail in the coffin of Ebola to ensure its permanent death. Now that we know better, we ought to act wisely and expeditiously going forward. Bye bye to Ebola. Certainly, we have had enough of you.

Photo: A school in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The author, PV Deputy Editor Roland Bankole-Marke.