Monrovia - FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt that a foreign doctor from Uganda serving in Liberia has become the latest victim of the deadly Ebola virus that is pillaging Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone of valuable lives.
Among the new deaths have been a man who was a surgical doctor assigned at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town. Health authorities confirming the doctor’s death referred to him as Dr. Sam and stated that he died at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Cholera Unit where he was being treated.
Health workers in Liberia are at risk for the deadly virus and many have expressed fear that they might come in direct contact with an Ebola patient without even realizing it. The Ugandan doctor is the fourth death among health workers. A physician assistant from the Tandapolie clinic in Caldwell was recently confirmed dead from the disease.
Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Assistant Minister for Curative Services at the ministry of health has called on health workers across the country to take universal precaution to protect them against the disease.
“We call it the barrier netting methods; that is, you must wear gloves during examination of a patient, even if they were not Ebola,” he told FrontPageAfrica. “What we call infection control in health facilities should be adhered to. So we are calling on health workers across the country, including private and public facilities; clinics and everywhere, to ensure at the highest standard and level to protect themselves.”
Following the reported death of eight persons including a health worker at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town in Monrovia, almost three weeks ago, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is reporting six (6) new cases as of June 30, 2014. The ministry states that out of the six are two suspected, one probable and three confirmed to have the deadly virus. The Assistant Minister for Curative Services states that there are ninety-six (96) cumulative (suspected, probable and confirmed).
The total confirmed a case in Liberia now since the second outbreak as of June 30, 2014 is 56 nationally according to the ministry of health. Two healthcare workers are reported to have died from the disease as of June 30, 2014 and the ministry is reporting that there are six new deaths, 56 deaths cumulative and the national case fatality rate stand at 64.6%.
The ministry is also reporting that two persons suspected of being infected with the virus have traveled from Voinjama District in Lofa County in Monrovia, and that there has been no specimen collected in Voinjama as of June 30, 2014 because the county laboratory supervisor could not be found. The report says there is no Ebola related posters in Voinjama and the county is in need of a vehicle for the burial team in Lofa County.
The latest update states that there is an acute shortage of thermometers for the contact tracers; confusion is brewing as to whether the contact tracers should record temperatures and that the Red Cross in Lofa is reluctant to do so as they do not want to expose the contact tracers.
There are 17 newly reported Ebola cases, 442 persons listed to have come in direct contact with people who have the disease, 256 in Montserrado, 158 in Lofa and 28 in Margibi counties according to the ministry. The ministry states that 397 contacts were seen on June 30, 2014 and a total of seven specimens were collected.
Prosecution for Hiding Ebola Patients
Liberia has made it a crime to shield people who are suspected of being sick from the deadly virus. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during a nationwide address over the weekend pledged prosecution for anyone caught hiding suspected Ebola patients. “Major issues confronting the response teams include, but not limited to, keeping sick people in healing centers, prayer homes and other non medical centers,” said President Sirleaf.
“These practices create public health hazards to families, neighborhoods and other innocent people. It is illegal under our public health law to expose the people to health hazard such as Ebola. Let this warning go out, anyone found or reported to be holding suspected Ebola cases in homes or prayer house will be prosecuted under the laws of Liberia.” Doctors Without Borders last week declared that the Ebola outbreak that has affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is “out of control.”
It states that more than 600 cases have now been reported in the region, with the patients experiencing headache, fever and internal and external bleeding. “The virus kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects, but it leaps from person to person only through contact with bodily fluids,” states Doctors Without Borders. The death of another health worker from the deadly disease shows the risk healthcare givers are exposed to in combating the deadly virus.