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Special Focus: Ebola’s Alarming Casualty Amidst Challenges Of Facilities And Treatments

Nigeria minister of health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu

By Tajudeen Balogun With Agency Report

As the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) ravages in some West African countries, available facilities to take care of the suspected victims in various designated centres have been found to be insufficient.

Nigeria minister of health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu

Nigeria’s minister of health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu

For instance, beds in EVD treatment centers are “filling up faster than they can be provided”, an official of the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed Friday.

WHO source states that the virus outbreak which is sweeping faster in the sub regional nations including: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone as well as Nigeria is the most dreaded and deadly ever recorded disease, killing over 1,060 people since March this year.

Still, the alarming and counting figure may still fall short of the real casualty as the United Nations  (UN) health agency said on Thursday that official counts of the dead and infected may still “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

Experts have also observed that the outbreak may linger in the next  six months.

“We’re running behind a train that is going forward,” Joanne Liu, the medical charity’s international President, told reporters in Geneva on Friday. He added that the treatment and manner of handling the virus was far below the tempo at which the disease rampages all over.

The flood of patients into every newly opened treatment center in the affected countries as observed by WHO Spokesman,  Gregory Hartl, is a clear evidence that the official toll is far from being real. He uttered the statement Friday in the body headquarters in Geneva.

According to Hartl, an 80-bed treatment center which opened in Monrovia, the Liberia’s capital few days back was filled up immediately, while scores showed up and lined  the following day to be treated.

Similarly, the country faced the challenge of one or two more additional victims to apply the San Diego-based company Zmapp doses of untested EVD drug. This according to Liberian’s Assistant Health Minister, Tolbert Nyenswah is aside the country’s two infected doctors who have been earmarked to receive the drug doses.

Meanwhile, WHO Publicist, Hartl, said that experts who are going from house-to-house in Kenema, Sierra Leone, in search of infected people are still discovering more cases.

Ebola, which symptoms include high fever, bleeding and vomiting, experts have declared  for now has no known cure and no “licensed treatment”. The disease is rampant in eastern and central African countries. West African sub region has joined the league early this year and the casualty has steadily remained on the increase, majorly in typically rural, isolated communities.

In the meantime, reports have it that the ZMapp just imported into Liberia and Nigeria were the last known doses left in the world, as the manufacturing company which developed the drug said it had run out of the stocks and would take months for it to manufacture limited supply of doses.

Liberia is one of the most affected by EVD in the West African sub region. The country has taken various measures since its outbreak among of which is declaration of state of emergency on the disease in four of its counties, indefinite closure of schools. Its latest approach was last week request to the United States (US) to release to it, experimental drug to treat the country’s victims. Nigeria and WHO had taken similar measure.

Similarly, Nigeria has received her own experimental drugs “Nanosilver” on Thursday. In addition, government at the various levels in the country have embarked on various public sensitization on precautionary measures to check outbreak of the virus and treat the suspected victims.

Specifically, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Mike Omeri revealed this week in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the campaign on the essence of using hand gloves and regular use of disinfectant would soon begin, indicating they were necessary and precautionary measures to prevent further outbreak of the deadly virus in the country.

The above is beside over 400 health officials the country Ministry of Environment has posted to the country’s various borders to control movement of people in and outside Nigeria.

Liberian-American , Patrick Sawyer was the first Nigeria Ebola casualty. He died over three weeks ago in a Lagos private Hospital. Three other cases including Justina Echelonu, (died yesterday) have since been confirmed.

Still, the very latest report in the country is that a seven-month-old baby in Ilorin, the Kwarra State capital, North Central Nigeria has been discovered and suspected to be infected with EVD. The state government said Friday afternoon that it did not want to take chances, therefore has put the baby under surveillance even as many other states of the federation have opened isolated centers to combat the outbreak of the deadly disease.

By Tajudeen Balogun (tjaysuccess10@gmail.com)

Additional reports from AP



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