The President of Sierra Leone Nurses Association (SLNA) Senessie Margao has warned all nurses not to work, if adequate and guaranteed protective gears are not provided for them but however asked them to report for duty at their various Hospitals.
He made this statement during a meeting held yesterday 14th August 2014 at the School of Nursing Hostel, Connaught Hospital, as a result of the increased rate of nurses who have died due to the Ebola outbreak and also to discuss salient issues regarding the welfare of nurses in the country.
He said since the outbreak of the virus, nurses have been in the front-line providing their services to help victims of the disease and because of that, they are at risk of contracting the virus at any time and their families are also at risk.
‘The government should provide us with the necessary protective gears to ensure that our lives are protected. The plastic Aprons and Gloves are not sufficient and guaranteed’.
Margoa emphasized on the need to improve on the welfare of the nurses as they are important in the fight against Ebola and registered his disappointment over the manner in which nurses are being treated.
“We are frontline soldiers and should be concerned about this new virus we know nothing about. However in the national interest, this battle must be fought by us but we must do so properly armed. If they do not give you protective gears, do not work. Come, sign and sit down but don’t endanger your lives and that of your families,” he cautioned.
A senior Nurse, Matilda Sandy stressed the use of long surgical gloves in all hospitals, as the short gloves are not safe when dealing with patients at this particular period and they should be provided with protective gowns and more Aprons.
Another salient issue was raised by Nurse Daniela Bockarie who stated that after the death of Dr. Modupeh Cole, most nurses decided to lay down their tools, but she cautioned them not to, as it will not help the situation but however called on the nurses who have not been coming to work to resume, as the Ebola virus is a national issue and nurses should make the sacrifice despite the difficult conditions they are working under.
She noted that their lives is at risk, as well as their families but if they stop to work now, the virus will spread and will not be contained.
She advised Nurses to ensure they are properly dressed when treating patients, stop all treatment at homes and should dispose of protective gears after use and should not be used for more than three hours.
The nurses also complained that the gloves they are not enough. They give only five gloves per shift and the rest have to do without, at the PCMH.
Some of the plastic aprons are short-sleeved and do not even cover their knees. This is unacceptable,” they said.
As for the other nurses who are volunteers, the nurses complain that even though they do a lot of work without pay, the Ministry says it is not responsible for them and will not give them protective gears.
By Jay Willie & Mariam Bah
Friday August 15, 2014