By Matthew Kanu in Makeni.
On Tuesday 2nd April 2019 Dr Sinead Walsh, the former Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone, launched her book “Getting to Zero” which addresses issues of the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone. In her presentation during the launching she said the key questions were: What lessons have we learned? What lessons have we not learned? How do we use the experiences of Ebola?
Her book covers the areas that were very critical to the Ebola response, and these include community engagement, leadership and coordination, politics, accountability and corruption, working with existing government assistance and the importance of individuals during the response. Following the outbreak in Sierra Leone a lot has been done to strengthen the health system. Presently the Ministry of Health and Sanitation now has a strong disease surveillance system.
Ambassador Walsh said there were a lot of mistakes made during the outbreak. “We want to write down the mistakes that led to over 3000 people losing their lives. A lot of people built their opinions on the conspiracy theory. Because of this we experienced something that was extraordinary and we don’t want the lessons of the outbreak to be forgotten” she said.
The book has been launched in UK, Ireland, South Africa, United State of America and also planned to be launched in South Sudan.
Dr Sinead Walsh is currently the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2009. She was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2016/17. Prior to this, she served as the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016.
Hundreds of people from the from the public and private sector witnessed the book launch. Notable among the people that attended the launch was the University of Makeni Representative Professor Sarah Koroma. Professor Koroma said launching Getting to Zero is the first source of history, and praised Ambassador Walsh for her relentless effort in putting together such a good book that generations yet unborn would read and comprehend.