He added that eating these dead/sick animals put them and their families at risk, not to talk of the whole country, while also confirming that they are working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on One Health Issues of which he stated is not new phenomenon. He cited that they have always worked together since the period of the Avian Influenza. He however, cited capacity strengthen of staff of the two ministries and further corporation on the area of joint surveillance, Social Mobilization and laboratory management as the Ministry of Health is well equipped in those areas.
The main purpose of the meeting was to orientate stakeholders of the district on the research findings of the new Bombali Virus; thereby setting the stage for further orientation and education of community people by stakeholders of the new Bombali Virus.
Director at the Directorate of Health Security and Emergencies, Rev. Dr. Titi Samba started by saying, they started a journey and that journey will not end without engaging the stakeholders, just as they were first engaged in the beginning of the whole research project. He reiterated that, in 2016 a set of people engaged them on a research project and that project has produced a new discovery of which emanated in their district and they will not go further without telling them the outcome of the research. He thanked stakeholders and stated that they would not have succeeded without the support of the stakeholders. He continued that there are many stages in the medical field to ensure good health, citing that research is part of Public Health because it is all geared to the prevention of a specific disease (s), which the research is yet to ascertain as to whether the identified Bombali Virus can cause disease/illness in humans. He further noted that the biggest domain in Public Health is the Environment, which consists of both the human population and the animals. He reiterated that majority of these animals we see and play around with have in them diseases that can be identified through a scientific research. He admonished stakeholders that the research did not identify a disease, but a virus which up till now, they have not yet been able to prove as to whether it can cause illness in the human population. Dr. Samba said the effort is to ensure early detection or surveillance and prevention for planning and further research work.
District Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Osaio Kamara in his statement referenced that when Ebola broke out in 2014-215, Rosanta village was the highest hit in the district, claiming the lives of most women and children. He continued that a research like this puts them in better position on how they should go about their preventive measures, especially on the area of human interaction with both zoonotic and domesticated animals. He also educated that the research did not only target zoonotic animals like bats, monkeys etc. but also domesticated animals like pigs, goats to name but a few. He also admonished stakeholders that they are now equipped with sufficient information on the research findings. Dr. Kamara however stated that the research is still ongoing and that they will always came back in every development of the research process.
The stakeholders meeting was followed by community engagements in the research targeted areas of Robuya, Rosanta and Yelisanda.
The meeting drew participants from every corner of Bombali District, ranging from Chiefs, Head Men, Religious Leaders, Traditional Healers, Councilors, Teachers, Health Workers, Civil Society, NGOs, representatives from the University of Makeni, the media to name but a few.