Via FrontPageAfrica, more confirmation of the public-health disaster in a Monrovia slum: Danger Lurks in Monrovia: Ebola Patients Flee W. Point Isolation. Excerpt:
Monrovia-Concerns continue to mount over the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s handling of the Ebola virus heightening fears that the virus could spread faster than expected in Liberia.
In the West Point community Saturday, seventeen (17) suspected and some confirmed Ebola patients escaped an isolation center late in the evening.
Sam Tarplah, a registered nurse who is managing the self-initiative isolation center early Saturday morning took journalists on a tour of a facility where the positive Ebola patients were being kept in isolation.
From a concrete fence and a building with half transparent windows, the Ebola patients are visibly seen at the center with those who are a little stronger communicating loudly.
“I have been here one week," one shouted; "you bring us food”, he said, refusing to call his name. Nurse Tarplah told reporters that some of the people kept at the center at the MV Massaquoi School were diagnosed positive and told to be in isolation at home because of insufficient space at the ELWA isolation center.
Tarplah said knowing the risk the presence of these Ebola positive patients will cause the community when they at home, he decided to keep them in one location though not in the same room.
According to him, there were a total of 29 persons that the center but nine had died over the last few days. A day ago, he said one of the patient very weak, fell on his forehead and died.
He said on Friday, a lady from Bardnersville who brought food for her husband and a son, two of them Ebola positive, became angry when she was not allowed entry and as such some residents of West Point, assisted her in erecting sticks on the wall of the fence where the man and his son escaped.
Late Saturday night, the remaining 17 left the isolation center assisted by angry residents of the West Point Community.
Tarplah said a group of people overwhelmed the center chanting slogans such as “NO Ebola, Ellen broke, she want more money; she lying about Ebola” and helped the 17 patients to leave the center.
Tarplah said his vehicle was partly damaged by the group some of whom are against the establishment of such center in their community.
“I am on my way to Ministry of Health right now, the people came and opened the place with force, they even spoiled my car”, Tarplah said.
The medical humanitarian group Samaritan Purse experienced similar resistance in the ELWA community when they tried to expand the treatment and containment center at the facility, forcing the group to abandon their plans to widen the scope of their work in the area.
The West Point Community is densely populated and Assistant Health Minister for Curative and Preventive Services, Tolbert Nyeswah said Thursday that the Health Ministry has planned to quarantine the entire community to prevent people from moving in and out.
“We will soon quarantine West Point, we are trying to get food and other needs before we effect the action”, Nyeswah said.
As the news of quarantining the area spreads, residents have become angry over the planned action and have been threatening to resist.
On Saturday morning some West Point residents, mainly youths were remaking threatening remarks “We will not move around, your come try it, your will see; your want make money out of West Point, let see”.
West Point, located on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic between the Mesurado and St. Paul Rivers is home to approximately 75,000 people and is easily one of Monrovia's most densely populated neighborhoods hampered by overpopulation and a host of diseases.
The community’s problems have been crippled by the lack of proper sanitation, public toilets. A UN report estimates that there are four public toilets in the area and while some sections of the area have paid public toilets, many cannot afford, forcing residents to use the surrounding areas to ease themselves.
Outside West Point, several communities around Monrovia are also going through tough patches.
Sick patients have been pleading for more than a week to get medical teams assistance but many of those pleads are falling on deaf ears as bodies are taking longer to be collected.
In the 5th Street Community in Sinkor, a body lasted three days before community dwellers staged a protest blocking the main Tubman Boulevard Road to claim the attention of health authorities on Thursday.
This could even bring down the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leaving essentially nothing but a few Liberians and a handful of NGOs to cope with the disaster.