Ebola causes lockdown in Sierra Leone

by | Sep 18, 2014 | Biz/Tech

A microscopic image of the Ebola virus

A microscopic image of the Ebola virus

By Yasmin Soul

Sierra Leone residents have been asked to stay in their homes over the next few days in what will be a complete lockdown.

Sierra Leone’s government will start enforcing the lockdown as of midnight Thursday. During this time the plan is to have health care workers heading door to door checking on individual cases.

Not everyone agrees with the move.

“It has been our experience that lockdowns and quarantines do not help control Ebola as they end up driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.

Anne-Marie Kamanye, the Executive Director of African Medical and Research Foundation Canada, said that although a lockdown in Sierra Leone may seem extreme, in this case it is because of the seriousness of the situation.

“When you look at other countries that have had Ebola they have never hit these kind of numbers. It has never spread over borders as much as it has here in West Africa,” she told Humber News on Thursday.

Kamanye believes that they are choosing to quarantine because the spread of Ebola is unprecedented.

“Some organizations are saying that it may not help because people may hide the disease because they want to travel or move from one village to another,” she said.

“Right now with the level of desperation that people are feeling it is important to try what some think might work. The government also must keep reviewing it to see if it is making an impact,” Kamanye adds.

Canadians along with other countries have gone over to try to help out the Ebola outbreak. However she believes that people who are going over should be mostly experts.

“I feel like if you are an expert and you’re coming from the CDC or WHO and you know you will be protected absolutely you should contribute to what is happening, but I think random people going to help can actually exasperate the problem.”

Shelia Dunn has been a doctor in Toronto for 35 years. She says from her perspective here she doesn’t think she can begin to make sense of the tragic reality of what is going on there.

She said she is disappointed in the speed of international response to the Ebola outbreak.

“If this wasn’t going on in Africa it would of happened way sooner. Africa is always sort of disposable to the West and it’s really appalling about the slowness of the response to what is obviously a really important emergency,” she said.

“This is really decimating the infrastructure in the country that its in and the people.” Sheila said, adding that “we wouldn’t tolerate that if it was going on here. We would have been on this right away.”

There are 6 million people living in Sierra Leone. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola and many who get this disease will die. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says the total number of cases is at 1,620.