Bong County – Health authorities in Bong County has disclosed on Tuesday that 200 people are now infected with a skin disease that has sparked wide spread health concern in the country, confirming that the disease is scabies.
Officials of the county health team and the Ministry of Health had earlier expressed uncertainties over the identity of the skin infection although they said most of the signs and symptoms patients were showing resemble scabies.
Recently the acting county health officer of Bong County Alpanso Kofa announced that about 200 cases were reported from six of the nine health districts in the county after it had said less than a week earlier that less than 40 cases were reported.
According to Mr. Kofa in an interview with this paper, the national reference laboratory tested 42 cases out of which 17 were confirmed to be Scabies.
According to Mr. Kofa, 17 cases that were previously reported in the County have been treated using Benyzl Benzoate lotion with support from World Health Organization (WHO) with a 100% cure rate, adding that “Scabies is preventable and treatable” and there was “No need to Panic, Take preventive measures”.
Kofa says the county health team has collaborated with other partners in the county to do surveillance in the entire county with more emphasis on those health districts, have initiated active case search with Zonal Surveillance Officers and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) especially in Bong.
Scabies is a parasitic infection transmitted by skin-to-skin contacts, contact of body part during sexual intercourse with affected person and contacts with affected linens, clothing’s, bath towels, beddings, furnishings etc.
Commenting on challenges the sector faced in the county, Mr. Kofa said, of almost all of the ambulances used to transport patients, most specifically the transportation of pregnant women and those in need of emergency medical attention at various health facilities in the county are dysfunctional
Mr. Kofa noted that four out of the five ambulances that the county has at its disposal are not functional anymore, and this is hampering the work of the county health team, thus leading to citizens of the county who are in need of the ambulance services being denied them. He said that some of the ambulances have been down for over six months.
Though he did not indicate who is responsible for the maintenance of the ambulances, he noted that due to the present situation (the lack of ambulances to cater to the needy), there is a likelihood that the county may lose ground in the fight against curable diseases in the county, which in recent time has drastically reduced, if concerned authorities do not do all they can to have the situation reversed immediately these gains are in danger of being reversed.
“We have a very serious situation in this county which has to do with the ambulances that are supposed to cater to our patients in emergency situations.
All of the ambulances that this county has are broken down with the exception of one.
This is really hampering the work of the county health team. So we are calling on our county authority and other stakeholders to come to our aid as soon as possible.”
“The lives of our mothers and children are in the most in danger, and they are at risks because they cannot walk far distances while pregnant or carrying young children to seek medical attention.
The one ambulance that we have working cannot serve the entire Bong County. As a result of this, the lives of our people are really in danger and we must do something to bring the situation under control as soon as possible before it becomes worse for us.”
Meanwhile, the acting health officer is calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of health to intervene in situations comforting health sectors across the Country.
Report by Alex Johnson, FPA Contributor