Many congratulations to GOAL Sierra Leone Country Director, Else Kirk, who has been recognised by the government of Sierra Leone for her role in the fight to contain and eradicate Ebola.
Sierra Leone recorded its first Ebola case in May 2014. During the outbreak 8,704 people were infected by the virus, of whom 3,589 died, before the country was finally declared Ebola-free on November 07 2015.
Under the leadership of Else Kirk, GOAL Sierra Leone was to the forefront of the battle against Ebola.
Commenting on the award, Ms Kirk said: “This award means a lot to GOAL, especially coming from the Minister of Social Welfare and being officially approved by the President of Sierra Leone. The President has called a National Public Holiday to recognise and appreciate those who have been involved in the Ebola response, with the award ceremony at State House being the centre piece. I think it will be a very special day, not least for those of us who have been through this outbreak from the beginning and seen it through to the other side.”
His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, had the following to say about the GOAL award:
"It was a long and challenging battle, but because you stood in solidarity we prevailed. Your support gave us the courage to fight on. You were central in shaping the response. Together we have put behind us one of the world’s most devastating pandemics. We owe this victory to the extraordinary support you provided to us during very trying times. On behalf of the people of Sierra Leone my government and in my own name I thank you and your staff for such support and solidarity.
As we turn to a new beginning, as we mourn fallen heroes, as we grapple with the challenges of the economy, the issues of survivors, orphans, and widows, I remain committed to working closely with your institution in building a resilient health system and in meeting the goals set in our Post Ebola Recovery Plan.
Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration."
In November 2014, GOAL took charge of a newly-constructed, state-of-the-art Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) at Port Loko in Sierra Leone. More than 600 people were admitted to the ETC before it was decommissioned in November 2015.
Working in Freetown, Port Loko, Bombali, Kenema, Kone, Bonthe and Kambia GOAL continues to deliver many other Ebola-related programmes. These include training health workers; child protection; livelihoods; social mobilisation and behaviour change; supporting orphans and bereaved families; the reintegration of Ebola survivors back into their communities; psycho-social support to survivors and affected individuals and families; surveillance and contact tracing; monitoring and support to quarantined households; and water, health and sanitation activities.
The nomination of Ms Kirk was made by the Sierra Leonean Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, The Honourable Moijueh Emmanuel Kaikai, and accepted by His Excellency the President, Ernest Bai Koroma.
The Award ceremony took place at the State House Lawn on Friday 18th December at 10:00am.