As a result of the increase in suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola in the Western Urban Area District, Davidson Nicol Medical Centre and a number of privately run medical facilities in the district have temporarily close down operations.
At the Davidson Nicol Medical Centre at Frazer Street, Cole Farm, Awoko discovered that the entire facility which used to admit the sick and provide outpatient service to the community is closed, except for the pharmacy section which operates strictly on prescription.
Police and Military officers are also deployed at the centre, and they informed this medium that they were deployed at the centre by Government to provide security, at the facility.
On arrival at Dr. Russell’s private clinic along Liverpool Street, the facility was also closed and nobody was on hand to give information as to the reason for its closure.
A resident on the same street who spoke on anonymity said the facility has been closed down for almost three weeks and suggested that the closure might not be unconnected with the scare over the increasing case of suspected cases in the city, Freetown. He noted that the clinic authorities may have also closed down operations to avoid large gatherings which the current state of health emergency prohibits.
“It could be a temporary measure as the authorities watch developments regarding the Ebola outbreak and its containment,” the Liverpool resident opined.
The situation was not different at the Blue Shield Hospital at Ascension Town Road. The compound is in perfect quietness compared to the usual bustling of movements by patients and visitors along the corridor and on the fore ground.
However, a few private clinics that do not admit patients continue to function. A doctor in one of the outpatient clinics told this medium they are merely monitoring the situation and that they are operations are at a minimal level.
He said they have stringent precautionary measures in place in their dealings and relation with patients.
Also some private laboratories which are still functional around the City, informed this medium that because most of the clinics are temporally closed, business is not as usual and they are barely raising their heads above waters to survive.
Meanwhile a young doctor (name withheld), attached to the Ola During Children’s Hospital at Fourah Bay Road confirmed to Awoko that indeed six other young doctors (House Officers) including some nurses at the outpatient section, are currently being quarantined as a result of coming in contact with a sick child who was admitted at the hospital suspected to have Ebola infection.
The doctor expressed concern over the incident which he said was unfortunate, taking into consideration the huge amount of funds that are still coming in to combat the deadly virus. “In spite of all of this, sadly enough, frontline health workers are not being adequately provided for in terms of protection in the course of to do their work,” he lamented.
He said frontline workers around the country are still faced with challenges, at a time like this when they should have all the necessary logistics and support they need.
“We were told to use one Personal Protective Equipment (clothing PPE) for a week, which according to health standards is unsafe and totally unacceptable. I cannot use one PPE for one week, it is highly risky for me and my colleagues,” he stated.
He appealed to the hospital authorities to be more proactive in providing everything necessary to protect the lives of frontline health workers and other medical staff in all government hospitals, health centers and PHUs. He maintained that one of the main ways out of this health nemesis is to provide adequate life-saving equipment to health workers to enable them reach out to suspects and patients in more humane and responsible manner.
“There is no guarantee that anyone of the health workers can do his or her best in service delivery to people in need when they are not certain of their safety and protection. This makes the whole anti Ebola crusade an irony and a mockery of what the reality should be,” the anonymous doctor averred.
He therefore appealed “to those concerned” to make available highly essential equipments and drugs to take the fight against Ebola to another level. He especially suggested that more PPEs; inferred thermometers that he maintained should be available in high numbers in all government hospitals, health centers and peripheral health units across the entire country.
“Early detection is a sure panacea to containing Ebola and preventing its further spread,” the young anonymous doctor stated.
By Ade Campbell
Wednesday August 20, 2014