Saturday 25 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Red Cross volunteers prevented a significant number of Ebola cases during the 2013-2016 epidemic in west Africa by using safe burial techniques, according to a study released Thursday. The outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people and sickened nearly 29,000 -- mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- could have been much worse, according to the study published in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases medical journal. Using statistical modelling, the study indicated that the efforts of Red Cross volunteers to properly bury the highly contagious bodies potentially averted as many as 10,452 Ebola cases, decreasing the scale of the outbreak by more than a third. Due to the very high death toll at the beginning of the outbreak, there...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
YAOUNDE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Safe burial practices introduced by the Red Cross likely saved thousands of lives during the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus between 2013 and 2016, researchers said on Thursday. In the first scientific study of Ebola victim burials, researchers found each unsafe burial had the potential to generate more than 2.5 secondary cases of Ebola infection. The virus kills about 50 percent of those it infects on average, according to the World Health Organization. People who treat and bury the bodies of the dead are especially at risk, as corpses are even more contagious than living Ebola patients. The Red Cross safe burial program potentially averted between 1,411 and 10,452 secondary cases of...
(APA 06/23/17)
The National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) has expressed concern over the astronomical increment in admission fee by the University of Sierra Leone (USL). The union, in a statement on Thursday, called for a reconsideration of the move. The USL last week pegged the cost of admission form for the academic year 2017/2018 at Le500, 000 ($80). This is said to represent a 100 percent increase from last year's fee. The move provoked widespread public anger, especially among people and families of people seeking to enter the university. The students Union noted that the increment in the cost of admission forms is a major concern for potential candidates and their families, in view of the unfavourable economic condition of...
(APA 06/23/17)
The Sierra Leonean government has commissioned the Ebola-era free toll, 117, as a public health hotline. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation said the line would be used to enhance its public health surveillance system as part of the government's ongoing health system strengthening programme. The 117 was first established in 2012 as part of the introduction of the government's partial free healthcare programme targeting the three most vulnerable group of the population - pregnant women, locating mothers and under five children. But it became prominent during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, when it was used to report suspicious sicknesses and deaths. It is credited for the success in the eventual containment of the epidemic. The call center for the 117,...
(APA 06/23/17)
Sierra Leone's Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh has called on the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities created by the government. Inaugurating the Call To Business (ACTB) Savings and Loans Limited at the company's head office in the west end of Freetown on Thursday, Mr. Foh described it as a "success story." He attributed this success to the efforts of the government. "Being cognisance of this, since he assumed office in 2007, President Ernest Bai Koroma and his Government have made financial and economic growth a central theme in our nation's development agenda, the Agenda for Prosperity," Mr. Foh said. He cited the Financial Sector Development Plan and the recently launched National Financial Inclusion Strategy as only a...
(APA 06/23/17)
The parliament in Sierra Leone has ratified a revised power purchase deal reached with the Swiss energy producer Addax in 2011. Parliament in a statement on Wednesday said the amendment was warranted by changing circumstances. Addax Bio Energy is a Swiss owned company which engages in the production of palm oil and sugar cane, from which it produces bio energy. Its deal with the Sierra Leone government is aimed at providing alternative sources of energy to address the country’s huge power deficit. The company will produce an additional 10 megawatts to the national grid under the revised deal. Addax had been facing difficulties in its operation and there are reports that talks are already undeerway for a takeover by a...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(APA 06/21/17)
Sierra Leone’s diplomatic mission in China has debunked reports that some of its citizens were maltreated while on a visit to China. According to a statement made available to APA on Wednesday, while the embassy admitted that some Sierra Leoneans were refused accommodation by a hotel in China, no one was arrested or manhandled. The statement added that the embassy was investigating the complaint of refusal of accommodation by the unnamed hotel. The alleged incident reportedly occurred in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, which is said to be home to one of the largest concentration of Sierra Leoneans in the Asian country. The rumours about the alleged maltreatment emerged after a Sierra Leonean posted a video on social media claiming...
(APA 06/21/17)
The Sierra Leonean army has raised alarm over rapid encroachment by civilians into its firing range, citing the danger to the people due to unexploded ordinances. Col. AS Bah, Commander of the Engineering Regiment of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), also warned those dealing in metal to beware of these unexploded ordinances, which he said, were scattered across the country as legacies of the country’s 11 years [1991-2002] of civil and even the World War II. He added that some of the unexploded weapons were also the result of training, especially at the firing range, which is located at the small town of Hasting outside Freetown. Col. Bah was speaking as the army commences mass disposals of...
(APA 06/21/17)
Sierra Leone has increased its Monetary Policy Rate by 1 percent from 12.00 percent to 13.00 percent, as it opts to maintain a tight monetary policy against the growing influence of inflation. The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL), in its latest Monetary Policy Statement published on Wednesday, also increased the Standing Deposit Facility from 6.50 percent to 9.00 percent, and the Standing Lending Facility jumped from 13.00 percent to 16.00 percent. The bank said the decision was taken in the light of the challenges involved in bringing down inflation to within target. The decision, according to the statement, was taken by the Monetary Policy Committee at its latest meeting on June 15, chaired by Deputy Bank Governor Dr. Ibrahim Stevens...
(APA 06/21/17)
Poverty is the leading factor fueling teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone, a new report has revealed. The findings by the National Commission for Children (NCC) are part of its annual report officially released on Tuesday under the theme: “Reintegration of teenage mothers into formal school system. According to the report, over 70 percent of teenage mothers lack education on sexual and reproductive health before they got pregnant. Only 10.5 percent reported having used any form of contraceptive up to three times before pregnancy set in. The report also reveals that teenage mothers have their first experience of sex at a relatively early age, as young as 10 years. “The reasons given – in order of prominence – were financial need,...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(APA 06/19/17)
The National Council for Technical Vocational and Other Academic Award (NCTVA) in Sierra Leone has announced new stringent measures designed to counter examinations malpractice. NCTVA is the country’s highest national examinations body and it conducts exams at the level of college, Polytechnic, Vocational and some secondary schools, as opposed to the regional West African Examination Council (WAEC), which conducts exams for Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. Amidst concern of the widespread existence of malpractice, the NCTVA is worried that this could compromise the quality of its certificate, Mohamed Jalloh, Director of NCTVA, said on Monday in an interview. His comments followed massive clamp down by government on a string of exams malpractice...
(BBC News Africa 06/16/17)
Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey has returned to Sierra Leone for the first time since contracting Ebola there in 2014. She went back to fundraise for children orphaned by the epidemic and to close a chapter of her life. The last time Mbalu met Pauline, the teenager was sick with Ebola and fighting for her life. Pauline cared for her while smothered in a personal protection equipment suit (PPE), when working amidst the crisis gripping the country. The nursing staff had their names written on their suits, so they could identify one another and it is for that reason, and not Pauline's face, that Mbalu, now 17, remembers her. "The first time I saw Pauline, she looked like a devil," Mbalu...
(Apa 06/15/17)
The Supreme Court in Sierra Leone has thrown out a case seeking to prevent the government from going ahead with the controversial boundary delimitation in the run-up to next year’s general election. The case brought up by three Sierra Leonean lawyers also wants the court to halt all activities relating to the ongoing civil registration exercise. The defendants are the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, the head of the National Electoral Commission, Nfa Allie Conteh, and the Speaker of Parliament, Sheku Dumbuya. The plaintiffs, who are all lawyers, accused the government through the defendants of misrepresenting the relevant constitutional provisions relating to the issues raised. The boundary delimitation exercise is also a subject of dispute...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(APA 06/14/17)
Division has emerged over a proposed media code seeking to tame unruly journalists in Sierra Leone. The new code announced by the Independent Media Commission (IMC) this week contains a revised list of offences which notably toughens fines for breach of the code. Under it, media houses can be fined up to Le20million ($3, 000) for what the Commission says is the most rampant offences – character assassination. The document, which also covers issues like privacy and credibility, is a revised version of the 2011 IMC code. And in order to make it effective, the Commission wants to legislate it. It has therefore submitted it in the form of a bill to the Ministry of Information for onward transmission to...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...

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