Dr. Sama Banya (Puawui)
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 August 2014
The Ebola virus is a killer organism that has a notorious and awesome reputation of killing up to 90 percent of its victims. It knows no class, no tribe, regional, ethnic or other affiliation. (Photo: Spanish priest being airlifted – but later died in Spain).
Those who survive are the few lucky ones whose symptoms are recognized early, and supportive treatment set in motion.
All the experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), America’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, and other authorities worldwide, now acknowledge that the outbreak had been underestimated.
While the epicentres are in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, it is also causing great anxiety to the Nigerian Health Authorities.
Chris Aoko said on the BBC Monday morning programme that a single case in Lagos State, with its 20 million inhabitants would be catastrophic. Every effort is being put in place to contain it, and at the same time to save the lives of those who have already succumbed to the infection.
Resources or the lack of adequate supply, may compromise international efforts to contain it. That is the reason I was delighted that our SLPP party has put partisan politics aside, and lauded the government for its continued efforts to contain the outbreak.
Measures have been put in place which, like the quarantine of Kailahun and Kenema districts appear harsh, but like iodine or other antiseptic its curative or prevention of sepsis effect, would more than compensate for its momentary pain.
Another measure which is being applied across the board is the check points, which have been located at strategic entry points, with compulsory hand washing using chlorine water.
Here it must again be stated that a ministry of health release has been quoted, stating that washing hands with soda soap and water is a more effective preventive strategy. The release also states that chlorine is more suitable for disinfecting corpses.
I travelled to and from Bo over the weekend, and everywhere the story is the same – chlorinated hand wash.
The random checking of people’s temperature with laser thermometer and compulsory hand washing at the same location, appears to have the cooperation of ordinary travelling citizens.
However, there are a few bigots who seem to have an exaggerated opinion of their own importance, even at the risk of putting other people’s lives at jeopardy.
I witnessed one such disgusting display of “Do you know whom I am?” at the checkpoint close to Lompa – a couple of miles from Waterloo last Sunday, where there was a queue of vehicles. Because of which, everyone dutifully alighted and made their way to the screening booth.
Then a beige coloured Toyota hilux jeep with brown markings came at some speed, ignoring the signals of police and military personnel, until a brave one stood in front of it.
I could not hear what was being said, but obviously the occupier was attempting to justify himself and bully his way, irrespective of Ernest Koroma’s state of emergency.
But fortunately for the bigot, I did take down the registration number of his government vehicle. But by the time I came out of the booth, he had driven off.
Now, if that man was a true and loyal patriot, he would have earned the admiration of all of us if he had voluntarily got off his vehicle and walked to the booth.
I am certain that the security men would have used that as an example to the onlookers, that Ebola knows no class, and requires the cooperation of everyone.
Would the ministry of health and sanitation tell the public, why it is necessary to take patients from around the country to Kailahun?
Would it not be more cost-effective to build treatment units in every district, so as to prevent possible infection, or is it a matter of staffing?