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REMEMBERING DR SHEIK UMAR KHAN - THE CHIEF EBOLA DOCTOR IN SIERRA LEONE PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Editorial
Written by M C Bah, Atlanta, GA-USA, former NDA Presidential Aspirant   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 13:34

Our nation today mourned the passing of a giant medical crusader - Dr. Sheik Omar Khan who lost the battle he once fearlessly waged against the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. The Chief Ebola doctor passed away on July 29, 2014 at the Doctors without Border treatment center in Kailahun District. Today, we are heart broken by the sudden loss of a ‘national hero’ who captivated our imagination and inspired our moral instinct that there are still angels and prophets among us. That we can find hope in the illuminating heart of people like Dr. Khan who made our nation less dangerous against the deadliest disease in human history.

Dr. Sheik Omar Khan may not have come from Bethlehem in Palestine or Mecca in Saudi Arabia; but he left an indelible message of human compassion, a unique character of self-sacrifice and what it means to serve humanity even if it means losing your “cherished life” as he once mentioned to reporters. Even a Sierra Leonean who had never travelled to distance shores or not find his names on international headlines before and never shake hands with Kings and Presidents could save more than 100 lives by his simple God- fearing gift of an “agape love” – a redemptive action that requires no return but genuine goodwill to all.

In the midst of this deadly virus, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan taught us what we can do as Sierra Leoneans. That we can chose to only help our families, villages, towns and tribesmen and then build a bleak future for our next generation or we can confront our challenges and fears together and save many lives while transforming our communities and nation into thriving centers of economic development. Dr. Khan’s life on this earth reveals to us: we can be a blessing to others by doing extraordinary things.

That greatness is not who is the fastest runner at the Olympic games or the winners at the battlefields, but who among us that can make the sheered sacrifice to saving others from either ruthless tyranny, extreme poverty and the fight against epidemic diseases like Ebola. Dr Khan is to the fight against Ebola Virus in Sierra Leone as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the struggle against racial inequality and social injustice in America. Both men were anointed by God to take on an impossible task of changing the world and serving mankind. Both men did not pass the age of 39 years old.

As we mourned the passing of this great giant who led the war against the deadly invasion of Ebola from the Eastern frontiers of Sierra Leone; we should never forget that he did not die in vain. Dr. Khan’s life was the missile defense system that prevented the viral onslaught of the Ebola against our innocent people in Sierra Leone. Like the laser fever disease which he was also instrumental in fighting against in Kenema and Tongo; God had prepared him for bigger challenges to come. Sierra Leone could have been mercilessly overcome by the first outbreak of Ebola without the gifted hands of this fearless and courageous man.

If Dr. Khan could talk to the heath workers today who are the first responders to Ebola victims, he would say to them: my life is a lesson for you to continue the fight and we can win if we do not despair and loss faith in ourselves. And in the tragedy of diseases, our souls and characters are tested for human elevation. That pain and suffering can be redemptive and it can shake the unwanted settled behaviors to blossom to the best that good human deeds can perfect. That a world without challenges will be a place where mistakes are repeated and no lessons can be learned.

Dr. Khan’s life will be forever stenciled in our national conscience not because of how much money he may have in his bank accounts or the luxurious mansions he may have and the beautiful family he left behind; it is his distinct human courage and his act of unimaginable selflessness to lead us in our darkest days as a worried nation. He may not have been buried in a tomb or witnessed state funerals by the attendance of world leaders; but to many of us – he was our Nelson Mandela who led the crusade against a ferocious epidemic that still shivers the spine of an innocent people.

Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India who dined with people with leprosy and fed the hungry, Dr. Khan epitomized the best that Sierra Leone can be. He was the perfect soul that reminds us that our nation can be great if we show our true human character of care and compassion to one another. I can hear Dr.Khan saying to politicians today: do more to help our people. We are here on earth for a short time – open labs centers in Jui and waterloo, train more nurses to protect themselves against the virus, do more prevention and containment. We can overcome Ebola.”

Indeed, no single life has grief-stricken a nation like the passing of a man who has shown us the way to be humble citizen of our sovereign nation. In his death, he left behind a nation today that needs to practice his example of looking out for the most vulnerable among us. That by eradicating poverty and diseases, we can become a safer and more prosperous nation. But such ambitious works can be achieved through the personality and character like what he has exemplified – not greed and treacherousness, ego –centrism and contempt for ethnic diversity – but a Sierra Leone that produces more Dr. Omar Khans – who are not afraid to die in saving the lives of others.

May your soul rest in peace, Doctor and May God protect your family forever. And May God bless Sierra Leone.

 

Editorial

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Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.

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“Successive governments have given us false hopes on the repeal of the criminal libel law. The politicians have lied to us. They have taken us to be big fools. President Koroma is our biggest disappointment. We had high hopes in him but he failed us woefully. So we will not trust any politician again, because when they get into office they forget about their promises,” said Nasralla.
 
Nasralla was speaking last Friday while formally launching a report on criminal defamation laws in Africa by PEN Sierra Leone at the SLAJ Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, Campbell Street, Freetown. 
 
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A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.

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“I studied Sociology at NjalaUniversity and graduated in 2015 but still unemployed despite several interviews being attended. I am currently awaiting my MSc at Njala University which is to be awarded early next year,” said 29 year old MabintyKamara.

“I graduated in 2012 with Honours from the Department of Accounting, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I have sent several job applications; the only long job I got was with the International Medical Corps during the deadly Ebola virus and since then no job. I was also a volunteer teacher but the Minister of Education, Science and Technology did not approve me and others after almost a year of voluntary service so I quit,” said 31 year old Mohamed LaminKanneh.

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The funding, under the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), will ensure that the reforms supported under thisoperation remain on track and are implemented without the risk of delays due to competing capacity or budgetary priorities arising from the post-disaster recovery. It will also help with the rebuilding of critical infrastructuredestroyed during the landslide and flooding.

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Cataloguing the current state of the country, Bio spoke about a divided country, the poor drowning in poverty, rich swimming in affluence, poor governance, battered economy, high public debt, third hungriest country, high inflation among others . He also reminded his audience that many of the things which necessitated the war such as bad governance, mismanagement of the economy, injustice have been the features of the current APC Government.

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