Saturday, 7 November 2015

Congratulations to Sierra Leone for defeating its Ebola virus disease epidemic!

Edited by Katherine Arden, PhD.

"On Behalf of the Sierra Leone National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Note to Correspondents

Subject: Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone over. 
Nation enters 90-day enhanced surveillance period
On 7 November 2015, if no new case of Ebola virus disease is recorded, Sierra Leone will have met the criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for declaring the end of Ebola transmission. If Sierra Leone meets that milestone, on that day, the WHO will declare the end of Ebola transmission in Sierra Leone, at an event organised by the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC)."

This is the message that greets you on the NERC website today. Ebola virus transmission has finally been kicked out of Sierra Leone after a 42 period with no cases confirmed. Getting to zero is now, Got to zero!

CONGRATULATIONS!!! 

It has been a hard fought battle with many, many losses. Battling the Ebola virus has also provided many teaching moments for the nation...as it has been for Liberia and still is for Guinea...and the world.

Within the next 90 day enhanced surveillance period and in the months and months to come, we may see a case or cases pop up and clusters may result. But Sierra Leone knows what Ebola virus disease is and how to deal with it. It won't be caught out the same way again. 

Many more teaching moments undoubtedly remain. But each will surely be faced with the same strength and passion that drove the nation to defeat an epidemic the likes of which the world had never before seen. 

The people of Sierra Leone made many new friends during this tragedy and hopefully they will always be but a call or a text or an email away. Far too many of those incredibly brave local and international health workers, burial teams, laboratory specialists and ambulance drivers paid for their efforts with their lives. So to them, to those who survived, to all the contact tracers, the social anthropologists, the psychosocial experts, the survivor clinics, the organizers, the facilitators, the doers and the thinkers from within and outside Sierra Leone, we give our heartfelt thanks for your work and your many sacrifices. You together with the people of Sierra Leone all contained and defeated Ebola virus disease and you did it in the face of often overwhelming odds. 

Enjoy the parties. Remember the lessons. Be vigilant.

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