Concord Times (Freetown)

29 August 2012

Sierra Leone: London Mining Joins Cholera Fight - Donates Medical Supplies to Tackle Epidemic

Iron ore miner London Mining has donated over 1,000 Litres of fluids and 20,000 antibiotics to the Port Loko District Government Hospital as an emergency support to help stem the cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma, on 17 August, declared the cholera outbreak in the country "a public health emergency" and appealed for international assistance to contain the spread of the disease.

The United Nations says the cholera situation "remains critical" and that as of August 21 over 11,000 cases and 203 deaths have been recorded in the country.

The company has also air-freighted additional medical supplies worth US$38, 000 for the treatment of cholera in the district. "The drugs and fluids delivered today [August 22, 2012] are adequate for cholera care in the Port Loko District for the next two months," said Greg Dixon, London Mining's General Manager for Health, Safety and Environment. "We will fly-in the other supplies in the next 2 to 3 weeks," he added.

Dr. Matt Lebbie, district medical officer, thanked London Mining for the donations and called on the company to continue its "good work" in the district.

The cholera epidemic has not affected London Mining's workforce and operations. However, as an immediate mitigation strategy, the company has set-up a joint taskforce to monitor the epidemic. It has also embarked on social mobilization and sensitization activities on good hygiene and sanitation at home and in the workplace and plans to chlorinate community wells within its concession.

The company attends government weekly cholera task force meetings in Lunsar and works closely with district health workers, international medical charities and mining area authorities and landowners to tackle the outbreak.

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