By Janjay F. Campbell
As health workers at Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Monrovia complain about the unit being full and no bed available to accept patients that are showing symptoms of the Ebola virus, the Ebola Treatment Unit in Suakoko, Bong County have 70 beds and there are always beds available because once you are tested and you are negative; you will be treated quickly and released to avoid the patient coming in contact with the Ebola virus.
At the ETU that was built by Save the Children and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), both international and local journalists observed on Tuesday that the ETU is at an isolated area where one has to drive fifteen minutes from the main road before he/she could arrive there.
The ETU is being run by International Medical Corps, a non- governmental organization and the team’s director for Liberia Ebola Emergency Response, Sean Casey stressed that test results to come in after 3 or 5 days now takes 3 to 4 hours and patients are informed if they are positive or negative.
According to Mr. Casey, if a result of a patient shows that he/she does not have the Ebola virus, that patient is discharged the same day or the next morning. But if the result shows positive that patient starts treatment immediately and they are removed from the suspected ward to the Confirmed Ward.
He narrated that is why patients are being released every day because they show no sign of the Ebola virus. He mentioned that there are 20 beds in the suspected ward and 50 beds in the confirm ward and that the ETU is divided into two areas, the lower and higher risks area.
He stated that the ETU has two ambulances and that most of the patients come in ambulance and that they don’t usually have to walk. Mr. Casey said there is no need to expand the ETU for now but if the need arises they will expand the ETU.
Journalists were taken to the burial site which was ten minutes’ walk from the ETU. At the burial site reporters talked with one of the grave diggers, James Jensen, who said they are being stigmatized by neighbors because of the work they are doing.
He praised International Medical Corps and USAID for the work they are doing for the people of Liberia. He said Liberians are dying from the deadly disease every day, because there are people who are still denying the Ebola virus.
At the U.S. lab in Suakoko, Bong County at Cuttington campus, Col. Doctor Jim Czarnik who is the Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Military here in Liberia stated that the U.S. government is putting everything it has to fight the Ebola virus and that the Department of Defense of the United States is bringing in more labs in the country.
There is state of the art equipment being used in the lab to help fight the Ebola virus by sending results to the ETU within 3 to 4 hours. The equipment cost little under half million dollars and that they have also received blood samples from Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Margibi.