So at last it’s officially over. After forty-two days with no new cases – the incubation period – Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free on November 8th at a ceremony attended by the President.
Nearly 4000 people and 220 health workers died during the epidemic. Many more were infected but survived. Including Liberia and Guinea over 11,000 people have died since the outbreak in March 2014.
Despite the terrible losses people celebrated the end in style. Many were inspired by Sierra Leonean rapper Block Jones’s song “Bye Bye Ebola”. Treat yourself to this hugely uplifting video of the song. It’s really something. People from all walks of life are dancing to the music, from soldiers twerking to the amazing Ebola treatment centre staff fully dressed in their protective uniforms.
This enthusiasm and joy will be needed in the months to come. The people of Sierra Leone have to rebuild the economy, catch up on education and care for Ebola survivors and orphans- while remaining vigilant against any hint of the virus returning. We wish them total success.