President Koroma has intimated that after releasing the last Ebola case from hospital, Sierra Leone is effectively moving into the post Ebola phase.
He made this statement yesterday at the official opening of a two-day sub-Regional Ministerial conference on “Ebola Leveraging on Information and Communication Technology” at the Bintumani Conference Center at Aberdeen in Freetown.
In his statement President Koroma recalled that at the height of the Ebola epidemic the International Telecommunications Union supported Sierra Leone with hand held communication equipment, which was used in the fight against Ebola. He expressed the need for the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to save mankind during emergency situation, adding that ICT can also help to provide capacities for the health sector in communication and infrastructure so as to respond to future emergencies.
The President maintained “we have liberalized the International gateway with plans for the introduction of 4G LTE technology.”
The Minster of Information and Communication Alpha Kanu who chaired the opening of the conference spoke about the use of ICT during the fight against Ebola in contact tracing and information sharing among partners.
He said since the landing of the fiber optic cable and they are now offering the cheapest price per megabyte to telecoms operators, adding that the country currently has 66% mobile penetration.
He also called for the inclusion of ICT in the school curriculum.
In his presentation, Health and Sanitation Minister Abubakarr Fofanah said over 70% of the population live in remote areas and access to modern health services still remains a challenge.
He said ICT can help promote E-health, to facilitate better health service delivery so it can also act as a solution where resources are scarce, delivery of health messages around the world with strategies to be developed on ICT to be utilized to promote effective health delivery.
The Guinean Minister of Telecommunications and New Information Technology Oye Guilavogui and the Minister of Health Guinea Dr. Colonel Remy Lamah and a representative of the posts and Telecommunications of the Government of Liberia also spoke about the role of ICT in health development.
Airtel Managing Director Sudipto Chowdury also spoke about the role of mobile phones in our daily lives which he said can also benefit from the E Data Center Connectivity for health centers and NGO’s.
Dr. Cosmas Zavazava Chief of Project Support and Knowledge Management Department, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said as they celebrate 150 years anniversary he called for preparedness for disasters with risk management.
He advised that “we must use telecoms resources to serve human life on land, sea and air.
He said the focus of the conference is to have a multi-disciplinary regional approach provide Sierra Leone with support to mitigate disaster and also develop the country sustainably, “we are also going to mobilize resources to build the capacity of the people” he concluded.
The conference was organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and hosted by National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM).
By Saidu Bah- Awoko
Thursday August 27, 2015