Friday, August 15, 2014

Ebola Patients And Contacts In Quarantine Are Neglected And Poorer Ones Discriminated

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As the number of Ebola victims in Nigeria increased to 4 with the death of Justina Ejelonu, and a female doctor was confirmed to have the disease yesterday, the unsatisfactory situation of the  patients and suspected cases in isolattion is beginning to come to light.

An exclusive RML source close to those who had access to Justina Ejelonu before her death sent this to me;
Very sad. We did a lot to save her. She complained oxygen was being supplied to only the big wigs there and we sent two yesterday. 8 cylinders more were on their way today before she died. We made sure water was reconnected in the facility after it went off, and we increased pressuring the govt. We wrote to the minister and introduced a researcher on nanaosilver. They made contact and ordered it. The drug was ordered from US and is also on its way with a doctor and will arrive today.  I was so sure she was going to scale through. It's heartbreaking. I'll send you more info later

I was waiting for more info when her story was confirmed in a report by Punch, where relatives and associates of the up to 50 people remaining in quarantine, had a press conference to share their gloomy experiences.

Boyo-Ekwueme, a pathologist, and one of the concerned relatives painted a picture of utter neglect of the female doctor and her medical colleagues who have been placed in isolation at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Lagos (IDH).

The pathologist who claimed to have been to the IDH in company with other family members and professional colleagues alleged that the Ebola patients were not being properly looked after.

Arguing that proper basic treatment and immune boosting drugs that can be of help to the patients were generally lacking, she concluded that only “international help” could make them live a little longer. She lamented,

“We are not fighting anybody. We are simply giving voice to the voiceless. Those people in isolation at the IDH cannot voice out these concerns. Let them have basic treatment. It shouldn’t be as if we just stood there and abandon them and watch them die one by one.

“They are human beings. That female doctor is a patriotic Nigerian and she needs to be helped. You people (journalists) should go there and see the surroundings where they are being treated. You would wonder if these are human beings who still have relatives.

“They are just being left on their own. Nobody is counselling them. They are just there as if they have been forgotten. We should remember that they didn’t ask to contract Ebola and it can happen to anybody. We are appealing for international help for these health workers.”

Spokesperson for the group of seven concerned family members and colleagues of the Ebola victims, Dr. Ladi Okuboyejo, stated that people including medical personnel deployed were now running away from the ailing victims. He insisted that the conditions under which the Ebola victims were being looked after was appalling.

Okuboyejo, a medical practitioner, stated that there was a dearth of requisite drugs and basic medical supplies needed by the victims adding that the poor general sanitary condition of the isolation facility was despicable. He stated;

“If a health facility doesn’t have light, doesn’t have water and the sanitary system is not working properly then we have got a problem. Now the patients are critically ill and their condition is getting worse by day. People, including some medical personnel, are now running away from them.

“The reality is that the disease is beyond our capacity to handle in this country. The international community needs to rise up to our aid. The victims are not being properly treated. Forget that the Nigeria Medical Association is on strike, we cannot handle it.”

A source revealed that an American doctor had been the one personally footing the bill for the purchase of basic medical supplies for the victims. The family source who preferred anonymity stated that a long list of medical and general need items presented to the authorities by the foreign physician had yet to be supplied. He asked;

“Where is the $12m the Federal Government said it released to fight Ebola. Remember that the matron and the ECOWAS protocol officer are already dead. Do they want all of them to start dying one after the other.”

Another immediate family member of one of the patients, Deji Akinyanju, who declined to name his ailing relative, stated that the feedbacks he has got from the isolation centre showed that the Ebola victims’ health was fast deteriorating.

He alleged that the Nigerian physicians working with the American WHO expert were those with little or no experience in managing the highly contagious disease.

With a note of disappointment in his voice, Akinyanju, who said he had been visiting his critically ill relative at the IDH stated, that the WHO expert have also highlighted the need for more experienced hands to help salvage what remains of the health of the isolated health workers.

“There is a need for more medical personnel that will help look after them. Certain immune booster could also have been easily given to them. We are just concerned family members. But from what we have seen we think more can be done to help them.”

I hope the government will look into this soon. It is a good thing Dangote has donated N150Million to upgrade the emergency center.

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