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JOB frowns at “urgent discharge” of Ebola survivors

By Bampia James Bundu

Former chairman of the main opposition SLPP party, John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB) has expressed concern over “the haste with which patients are discharged from Ebola health centres”.

Speaking at a press conference in Freetown, Benjamin explained that there had been situations in which people were released from centres in Kailahun “only for them to come back and test positive for the deadly Ebola virus”. He went on that those discharged patients were likely to have infected other community people before they were readmitted for "proper treatment".

He urged the health officials at the treatment centres to ensure that several separate tests were carried out on patients to ascertain their status before discharging them. He said that should be followed by a period of proper monitoring even when the patients had been discharged.

On periodic statistics of the spread of the disease, JOB observed that information provided by the ministry varied from what was really on the ground. He claimed that there were many more cases than those recorded and accounted for.

“In Jawe Chiefdom, cases reported in July this year from eight communities by Paramount Chief Gombu Kla Kallon, a former health worker, is 180 compared to government figures of less than 100,” Benjamin said.

He described the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa as a humanitarian tragedy ravaging countries, and noted that international assistance and domestic donations should be strategically utilised.

The 2017 presidential hopeful said provision should be made to protect and support frontline health workers fighting the epidemic and commended the Sierra Leone government for its actions in quarantining Kailahun and Kenema districts, the epicenters of the disease.

He pleaded with the international community to procure and deliver required and proper protective gear and construct additional and fully-equipped treatment centers with mobile laboratories, specialised ambulances and other testing devices across the country. He also called for appropriate and specialised technical assistance with personnel to train required clinicians, contact tracers and burial teams, as well as specialised nursing care for the management of Ebola cases was also needed.

(C) Politico 21/08/14