I'm usually skeptical about reports from Awareness Times since its Ebola stories generally involve more defence of the president and his government than information about the disease. But this report seems credible: Segbwema Traumatized… as Students of Nixon Hospital AWOL. Excerpt:
Residents of Kailahun especially in Segbwema Town had been living in a state of panic since one of the major teaching hospitals; Nixon Memorial Hospital permitted its students to go on French Leave.
The hospital which also serves as a major referral hospital and its services almost came to a halt since the dreadful Ebola Disease commenced a death race in the Kailahun District. Even though there has been no report of Ebola patients in that Community, yet many residents are now asking critical questions as to whether the hospital is not prepared to fight the Ebola Disease.
In times of war, when a barracks closes down, it is always a cause for concern especially when there are not enough boots on the ground and when the enemy is advancing. In most cases it is called tactical withdrawal; but for strategic locations like these, the answer should be to defend at all cost. Such sites should be well fortified to bring security to its environs. The fall or capture of a major military location is dangerous.
The people are hoping that the Nixon Memorial Hospital be re-opened to meet the challenges of the epidemic and be used as a spring board to effectively contain the spread of the virus with the supply of all necessary gargets to fight Ebola.
The morale of our frontline fighters (medical personnel and first handlers) must not be demoralized.
According to the MP for Constituency 07, Hon. Abu Jajua, the people in his constituency have complied with the government public notice to close all schools and centres which gather people in large numbers.
He said the closure of the Nixon Memorial Teaching Hospital was due to lack of medical equipment and protective gears to support staff to safely and effectively handle Ebola cases that may be referred to the hospital.
Hon. Jajua, said his constituents fear that all fever symptoms are now regarded as suspected Ebola cases, and since Ebola treatment is free, they can visit the hospital and take treatment without paying.
When asked whether medical students and staff should take part in the effective training for this outbreak and any similar outbreak, he said government should provide more support and training for staff and students at the hospital and also noted that the hospital is running at a loss because since the outbreak started no payment has been made for any treatment as patients now claim that because of the Ebola, government has made free treatment for all of them no matter their ailment.
This he said has however greatly reduced the capacity of the hospital to administer generally to the people.
The Manager of the Nixon Memorial Hospital, John Saffa told our reporter recently in Segbwema that the absence of students in the hospital had created panic among community members and the entire Eastern Province.
He said 80% of the job is being done by students as part of their practicals and since they all went abandoned post, everything has come to a standstill. According to him there were only 8 patients in the entire hospital owning to the absence of the students. “The staff is just there to support but the students do the bulk of the job” he stated.