Via Inter Press Service: Defying the Ebola Odds in Sierra Leone. Excerpt from a long, informative article:
Adikali Kamara is a 36-year-old student nurse working in the government hospital in Kenema, a sprawling town on the fringe of the Sierra Leone’s Gola tropical rain forest.
On June 19, he began feeling unwell, complaining of fever and a headache, and went to a chemist near where he lived to buy anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics to treat typhoid fever. “I thought that my symptoms indicated either malaria or typhoid because these are the most common ailments suffered by everybody here,” said Kamara.
However his condition did not change and two days later he decided to seek proper treatment at the hospital. That was when the doctors discovered he was suffering from Ebola, a disease that causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea and kills up to 90 percent of those infected.
Kamara was admitted immediately and just seven days later he was discharged after receiving supportive treatment.
Kamara is one the fortunate 51 persons in Sierra Leone who have survived the current Ebola scourge that is also ravaging two other West African neighbours – Guinea and Liberia. So far, 99 have died in Sierra Leone and a further 315 men, women and children have tested positive.
The Public Health Education Officer for Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province, Michael Vandi, who is based in the Kenema hospital which houses the country’s only Supportive Treatment Centre and testing laboratory for Ebola, said that the country is far from winning the fight against the disease, blaming people’s fear and denial of the disease.
Vandi said that “people are vehemently denying that Ebola exists despite the massive awareness raising that is going on, and those that do believe the illness exists are so afraid that they do not come to the hospital or bring their relatives when they are sick. That is how Ebola spreads in the community before we are aware of cases.”
According to Vandi, people are accusing doctors of administering lethal injections to the Ebola patients or removing vital organs for sale in European markets. He said that some even claim that people are being deliberately infected with the virus to reduce the population.
As a result, doctors and nurses in the hospitals have been attacked and many nurses are not wearing their uniforms on the way to work for fear of being attacked in the streets.