|THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE NATIONAL AIDS SECRETARIAT, EAST IN BENDING THE EBOLA CURVE IN KENEMA DISTRICT|
The National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) East Regional Office is headed by a Regional Coordinator followed in order of rank and authority by the following categories of officials: the Regional Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, the Regional Finance officer, the Documentation Officer/Liberian, the Team Assistant, the Data Entry Clerk, Drivers and Office Assistant/Messenger/Cleaner. NAS works in partnership with other organisations otherwise known as Implementing Partners (IP). In the eastern region, NAS is in partnership with the following organisations: National AIDs Control Programme (NACP) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), the Network of HIV Positives (NETHIP), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and others not mentioned.
Sierra Leone experienced the first outbreak of the Ebola virus in May 2014, in Kailahun, a district of the Eastern Region through cross border movements. On the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), initially there was denial even amongst government circles let alone the local people. When the stack reality of the existence of the disease came to catch up with the country, there was panic. The Executive arm of government was caught unaware and was confused as to how to adequately respond to the epidemic. This state of confusion cascaded to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS). The newness of the disease in the region in general and the country in particular became the sing song of Ministry Officials. True to the status quo then, everything about Ebola was new. Standard Operational procedures for combating infectious diseases like EVD if available at that time was only gathering dust on the shelves of health practitioners. The issue of the use of standard Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) by health care givers was as new as the word itself. As a consequence health care givers including Doctors and Nurses became vulnerable to the infections.
While other districts were yet to appreciate the enormity of the challenge posed by the EVD epidemic, stakeholders in the Kenema District galvanised themselves into a formidable fighting force. The Kenema District Ebola Task Force was constituted with membership comprising of all Ministries, Departments and Agency (MDAs) , NGOs ,INGOs Local Councils, Inter-religious Council and Traditional Rulers by June 2014. The Task Force also established sub-committees. By June 2014, the Task Force with its committees were up and running.
The National HIV/AIDS Secretariat in Kenema was in dilemma as to how to ensure that our programmes are not disrupted by the epidemic. While we were grappling with this, Kenema District was declared as an epicentre of the epidemic and was quarantined. The normal HIV/AIDS services including Counselling and testing, Anti retro viral therapy (ART) and other services came to a rude halt. HIV clients abandoned health facilities for obvious reasons (the fear of EVD infections). The fear was heightened by the infection and subsequent death of DR. Omar Khan of blessed memory, the only viral haemorrhagic fever Specialist in the Country that was attached to the Kenema Government Hospital. Dr. Khan used to render medical services to people living with HIV in the district. To add insult to injury, one of our dedicated and hard working HIV Counsellor Mr. Ibrahim Fanbulleh of blessed memory also got infected and succumbed to EVD. It became quite evident that NAS’ programmes were been overtaking by the EVD epidemic and at such we needed to contribute meaningfully to the Response.
So what did NAS do in Kenema? NAS Regional Office in collaboration with its partners identified prevention of infections especially amongst health care givers, as a serious challenge to the Ebola Response in the district and decided to contribute to its alleviation. NAS therefore sought the support of AHF (one its strategic partners) in the district to help. AHF had scarcely established an office in Kenema when the epidemic started. That notwithstanding, AHF came in and donated to the Kenema District Ebola Task Force huge quantities of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) total cost of which was over $ 99,730,000 on four separate occasions. The last donation was the largest that was universally praised by the Task Force and was even reported to H.E the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone on one his visits to the District. It contained the following items:
1. 260 body bags = $9,560
2. 6 barrel 45kg chlorine = $3,570
3. 400 packets of 100 (2,000 pieces) Gloves = $4,600
4. 700 PPE Kits (Gown, hood, boots, goggles, respirator, gloves,) = $82,000
Total = $99,730 equivalent in SLL 433, 825, 50
In addition, the Regional Coordinator was co-opted into the Kenema District Ebola Response Task Force and became a member of its Coordination Committee. The Kenema District HIV supervisor/ counsellor, Madam Gladys Gassama joined the Psycho-Social Team. It will interest you to learn that on the death of her colleague counsellor, while Gladys was under observation herself for signs and symptoms of EVD she sought solace in intensifying her counselling services and would work for the whole day without rest so that she would be so exhausted that she would have a sound sleep during the night by which means the trauma was a bit lessened. NAS also provided a venue for meetings by the Social Mobilisation Committee of the Task Force. The inter play of professionalism, commitment, dedication and discipline and sense of focus by the Task Force and its sub-committees resulted to the bending of the Ebola curve in the district and cannot be under estimated. At the time of writing this story in December 2014 Kenema District was recording zero new confirmed cases.
To encapsulate this story, the NAS Regional Office is humbled by its modest contributions to the Kenema success story. We are very thankful to AHF and other partners who stood by NAS in these trying times.
FROM REGIONAL COORDINATOR EAST
MOHAMMED MARK BARBAH SISAY
Re-advitised TOR and request for expression of interest for viral load monitoring and EID August 2016
RE-Advertised 8th August, 2016.
The Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of Sierra Leone has received a Grant from the Global Fund towards the cost of the HIV/AIDS Response Program in Sierra Leone and intends to apply part of the proceeds of this grant to payments under the contract for which this Request for Expression of Interest (EOI) is issued.
The National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), acting on behalf of the CCM of Sierra Leone is soliciting
expression of Interests (EOI) from qualified and eligible Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Consulting Firms to provide technical assistance assignments for the National HIV AIDS Secretariat (NAS) in implementation of Viral Load Testing and monitoring and Early Infant Diagnostic (EID).
The National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), acting on behalf of the CCM of Sierra Leone is soliciting expression of Interests (EOI) from qualified and eligible Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Consulting Firms to provide the following technical assistance assignments for the National HIV AIDS Secretariat (NAS).