By Timothy T. Seaklon
The City Mayor of the Commercial hub of Ganta in Nimba County, Mr. D. Dorr Cooper, has disclosed that there is no Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in the county.
Mayor Cooper, addressing the regular Ebola Briefing yesterday at the Ministry of Information said Ganta which is the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in the county noted that it is not only medication that is lacking in the area but efforts aimed at enhancing protection of people against the deadly virus is also a problem.
He pointed out this is so because Ganta like other places have people who are still in the denial stage and as such people are not changing their way of life.
Mayor Cooper told journalists that since the Ebola outbreak between 55 to 60 persons have died as a result of the virus because from the beginning most Health Care Workers (HCW) were leaving the hospitals.
The Mayor said to remedy the situation in Ganta City, he and his city council had to mobilize resources which led to the donation of a pick-up truck by one of the county’s Representatives while he (Cooper) had to contribute a personal amount of US$1000.00
He said 28 zones were set up throughout the city of Ganta with their respective zonal heads spreading all over the city urging people not to take Ebola lightly. “As a result of this and due to the lack of an Ebola Treatment Center we organized ourselves and decided to treat infected person at the community level,” Mayor Cooper disclosed.
He said one of the difficulties being encountered by the people of Ganta stems from the fact that before someone can be confirmed as having the Ebola virus, their blood specimens have to be sent to Monrovia and within a period of three to five days before the result of such specimens can be brought to Ganta.
Mayor Cooper observed that one of the greatest challenges being faced in the city is for people to accept those who are being discharged from Ebola Treatment Center in Monrovia, saying, “When these people return to Nimba, they are rejected by the local people.”
In a related development, an Ebola Consultant, Dr. Atat Omoruto has launched a public appeal for the donation of blood which is needed to save the lives of those infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Dr. Omorunto who heads the newly opened Island Clinic Ebola Treatment Unit said the clinic needs blood of any healthy person especially that of those who had survived the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
She disclosed that this methodology to infuse blood into infected person has worked in several countries that have been affected by Ebola. “This blood infusion process especially that of an Ebola survival can heal infected person,” she added.
Dr. Omorunto who is the World Health Organization (WHO) Consultant for Ebola Case Management said, “My duty is to ensure that all patients that come here should be cured from Ebola.”
She indicated that the Island Clinic Ebola Treatment Center which was opened last Sunday is already overwhelmed as it currently has 173 patients. The Island Clinic is a 150 bed health center but Dr. Omorunto said they are now treating people in the corridor of the center.
She further disclosed that since the opening of the Island Clinic Treatment Center last Sunday, 20 persons had died as result of the Ebola virus.
She advised people to come early to the Ebola Treatment Center if they must be cured saying “When you walk into an Ebola Treatment Center, you can walk out but if you come on a stretcher, you leave the center on a stretcher.” She said early treatment is good and advised the public that whenever one is treating a Malaria case, they must give anti-malaria medicine and anti-biotic.
Dr. Omoruto, a Ugandan added that the over 200 Health Care Workers that are currently working at the clinic are being trained to take up assignment at other treatment centers. She said similar training was carried out at the JFK Ebola Treatment Center and those who benefited are now rendering services at other centers.