Dr. Samuel Muhumuza Mutoro and his wife and baby during happier days - PHOTO/Fred Turyakira
Monrovia - Dr. Samuel Muhumuza Mutoro was so determined to become a doctor that he repeated classes in school, just to fulfill his dreams, the Ugandan Monitor quoting family members reported Thursday.
Dr. Mutoro, who was pronounced dead Tuesday, became the latest health care worker to die from the fatal Ebola virus sweeping Liberia in recent months. He had been in isolation for several days, since he contracted the virus from a Nurse, Esther Kesselley, who was the first health care worker to succumb to the outbreak in Liberia.
Medical aides who spoke to FrontPageAfrica on condition of anonymity Thursday said, Dr. Mutoro had instructed his peers not to get too close to him as he fought to treat himself to no avail. Medications and essentials he needed were slipped under the door of the isolation unit room, he was kept shortly after he contracted the virus.
A report from British Television, Sky TV which has gone viral on social networks, highlights the case of another nurse who like Kesselly contracted the virus by caring for a patient. In footage of the telecast, Nurse Elizabeth Smith is seen lying on a bed next to another nurse who had contracted Ebola from the same patient they had both treated. “But Ms Smith was significantly weaker than her co-worker. She did not raise her head as we entered and her bed was soaked in blood”, the report said.
“The whole community is upset by the fact our very own Doctor is buried abroad. We appreciate that fact that the nature of his disease, it was impossible to bring his remains home. However, we are upset.” - Muhindo Moris, a resident of Mutoro’s hometown of Uganda-Kasese, in an email to FrontPageAfrica Thursday.
The Ugandan Monitor reported Thursday that Dr. Mutoro was constructing a residential storey structure in Ruharo town suburbs with the proceeds of his work in Liberia. He was a surgeon assigned at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town on a contract with the Liberian government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the time of his death, Muhumuza is said to have volunteered to treat a colleague who was infected with Ebola, thereby exposing himself to the deadly disease. His wife, Diana Namusoke, a mother of three, told New Vision that the family was notified about his death by an official from Liberia’s government. Rev. Jehoida Mutoro of South Rwenzori Diocese, the only brother of the deceased said the bereaved family has been advised against travelling to Liberia as earlier planned.
Relatives in regions where the virus has hit have been warned against giving Ebola victims traditional funerals - for fear of spreading the deadly infection. Traditional funerals involve manual washing of the body, but the infected dead are supposed to be buried by health staff outfitted with protective gear.
A requiem mass was scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:00am at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Costa Bwambale, a brother-in-law of the deceased, described the Muhumuza as a ‘very determined’ person, who even repeated class in order to achieve his dream of becoming a medical doctor
It is believed that yesterday Muhumuza’s remains were disposed of immediately since the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend the immediate disposal of Ebola victims. At his home on Mbaguta cell, Ruharo, in Mbarara neighbors gathered and held a wake to commiserate with the relatives.
Muhindo Moris, a resident of Mutoro’s hometown of Uganda-Kasese, in an email to FrontPageAfrica Thursday, wondered whether the Liberian authorities had video footages and photos of the fallen doctor’s last days.
“The whole community is upset by the fact our very own Doctor is buried abroad. We appreciate that fact that the nature of his disease, it was impossible to bring his remains home. However, we are upset.”
"People are afraid, but do not believe that the disease exists and because of that people get sick and the community members hide them and bury them, against all the norms we have put in place," she said.
On Thursday, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Assistant Minister for curative services at the Ministry of Health told FrontPageAfrica that authorities were in touch with Dr. Mutoro’s family in Uganda and keeping them abreast of the situation on the ground and will work with them to fulfill the family wishes.
The outbreak has killed 467 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, making it the largest and deadliest ever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Dr. Mutoro’s hometown, Uganda-Kassee Thursday, Muhindo Moris says residents observed moments of silence as many are still in disbelief.
“He worked with crowds of people across the whole country and they can’t believe, it is really hard to accommodate. In the village, people are still wailing loudly and cursing the government of Uganda for not making attempts to bring Sam home, but just condemning whoever attempts to think of bringing him. Dr. Sam belonged to a small tribe of Bakonjo in Kasese district at the border of Uganda and Congo. "
"People are not happy with the fact that Sam wasn’t buried at home, and no attempts by Liberia to bring their son, who had been hired in their Ministry of Health. It is a pity to hear of the time at which he was buried 10:am, really...????????? He was not worth this ... People even tried to attack government offices for not designing means to bring him home.”