Via Front Page Africa, a long, informative article: Unheralded Fear: Ebola Pose Risks for Liberia Health Workers. Excerpt:
Speaking on a local radio talk show on Sky FM (50-50) in Monrovia on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Dr. [Bernice] Dahn said health workers must be willing to learn prevention methods and apply them in order to be able to combat the disease properly without putting themselves at risk like the case of the dead nurse.
“You know, when we’re talking about this particular disease (and this is something that we need to dispel even with health workers), they think everybody should be in the full PPE, protective gear around the hospital like maybe astronauts (chuckles) that’s not the case,” she said.
Dr. Dahn said that the case, which caused the death of the nurse at Redemption hospital, was brought in as any other patient would come in to the hospital for treatment, but as it is normally practiced here in Liberia, nurses do not follow routine medical measures on prevention.
“Just by washing hands with water and soap, prevents you from a lot of diseases. I’m sure you do go to hospital; you do see us doing that. We see several before we wash our hands once, which is wrong,” she said.
Continued Dr. Dahn: “Normally in medicine, there are universal precautions that you would have to take in seeing patients. For Instance, the rule is, for every patient you see and examine, once you touch, you must wash your hands with water and soap immediately after every patient. Also if you have to examine a patient and you feel you will come in contact with body fluid, you wear gloves, it’s a protective gear; wear your gloves during examination.”
She said sometimes health workers are a bit careless with important procedures that they need to take to protect lives including their own.
“Normally we are in emergency room, they bring in accident victim, you’ll see somebody just pick up gloves go straight to the blood and stopping it with their bare hands. It happens and these are things we need to stop,” she said.
“If you think in dealing with the patient, something will splash on you for example; you can wear mask or goggles. Then we have the full PPE for people who are working in isolation, who would have to come in real contact with patients; taking specimen, managing the patient, you would have to give IV fluid so its an invasive procedure that you’ll have to do.”
Ebola is serious
She said the case at Redemption has created the need for health workers to begin to take Ebola seriously. She said it is very important that health workers understand the signs and preventative measures of the deadly disease to stop it from spreading further.
“Since we have Redemption Hospital in the epicenter right now, we’re prioritizing it to actually put in the emergency measures to ensure we don’t have a recurrence of a health worker getting infected,” she said.
“When we had the outbreak first we established two treatment sites; ELWA and JFK. We asked every hospital to identify isolation rooms in their hospitals, in case we see suspected case, you can isolate that person and alert the system and the patient will be transferred to the isolation unit. We are calling it Case management unit now, because the word ‘isolation’ is giving us some problems.”