Lawrence Williams: Sierra Leone Telegraph:
In two separate letters (see below), addressed to President Julius Maada Bio and the National Coordinator of NACOVERC, Brig. (Rtd.) Kellie Conteh respectively, the president of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), Dr. Delwin M. Findlay, expressed grave frustration and disappointment over the treatment of medical doctors in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic; and objected strongly to derogatory remarks made by Brig. Conteh against medical doctors in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Findlay lamented that the lack of drugs and personal protective equipment (PPEs) in treatment and isolation centres poses severe risks to the frontline healthcare workers. He added that the risk of infection is extremely high for doctors and other healthcare professionals rendering general healthcare services to patients in the non-covid service centres because of the number of asymptomatic patients. He said six healthcare workers who died of Covid-19 were not working in treatment or isolation centres when they got infected.
“In the non-COVID services where the risk of infection is extremely high because of the number of asymptomatic cases, there is far from adequate PPE,” he warned.
Dr. Findlay complained to President Bio that the unavailability of drugs in some treatment and isolation centres poses severe health risks to the wellbeing of patients, adding that in most cases the doctors buy drugs for patients out of the pittance they are getting.
“In some of these facilities, the healthcare workers buy drugs for the patients from their own pockets,” he said.
In his open letter to Brig. Kellie Conteh (Photo), Dr. Findlay said that the SLMDA is greatly offended by what he described as “insulting and derogatory” remarks made by the National Coordinator of NACOVERC against medical doctors in Sierra Leone.
The NACOVERC coordinator is quoted to have said that “many healthcare workers are in the profession for the wrong reasons”.
He indicated that they as healthcare professionals rendering unquantifiable, priceless healthcare services to the nation are dissatisfied with such derogatory remarks coming from no less a person than the head of the government coronavirus response programme and therefore, acting in the capacity as president of the SLMDA charged with the responsibility to seek the interest of his colleagues and other healthcare professionals in general, Dr. Findlay demanded Brig. (Rtd.) Kellie Conteh retracts and apologizes to the SLMDA and the medical profession for making such an uncomplimentary statement against the foot soldiers of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He pointed out that citizens’ denial of the existence of Covid-19 is as a result of the fact that there is a general perception that coronavirus is a ploy by politicians to obtain and misappropriate funds.
He said this belief is strengthened by the fact that healthcare professionals are being alienated to make room for politicians who go about engaging the public on coronavirus prevention and control, knowing fully well that the Covid-19 pandemic is a global health crisis which response should be handled by trained and qualified medical professionals.
“This view is strengthened when only politicians who people believe are masters of spin, are seen to be talking about Covid-19,” Dr. Findlay said.
Read letters below: