Via The Patriotic Vanguard, a commentary by Marie Umar-Kamara, an assistant professor of nursing in Richmond, Virginia: Protect Our Healthcare Workers. Excerpt:
There are many speculations as to why we are seeing a relatively high morbidity and mortality with the Ebola outbreak. However, the focus for now should be a unified effort to first curtail the spread and then eradicate it from our community.
We should commend the efforts of the international community for their selfless acts in trying to save our people and communities. We need to protect our healthcare workers and not misuse funds and supplies marked for this outbreak. Transparency is especially critical for our government officials at this time.
To our religious leaders please pray for these frontline workers so they may continue to live and do the good work they have been trained to do.
In any adversity or calamity there is a lesson to be learned. Most of us are aware of how fragile our healthcare system is. The Ebola outbreak has exposed our vulnerability in terms of combating infectious diseases. The lack of resources as simple as gloves, masks, protective gowns, hand sanitizers for hand hygiene, coupled with a culture of underutilization of infection control practices has contributed to the current Ebola situation.
Every Sierra Leonean should learn about infection control, practise infection control, make sure our healthcare institutions follow infection control measures and ensure our government provides the necessary supplies and equipment for our healthcare institutions.
The medical and nursing educators should be committed to teaching and modelling infection control practices. For those of us living abroad, we can contribute by providing education and supplies to our local communities. We owe this to each other and to our children yet unborn.
A word to the President
I know right now the focus should be on the current outbreak but it is also not too early to think about the future. I hope decision makers would consider establishing a rapid emergency response team that will keep an eye on trends of infectious diseases in the country and in neighboring countries. It may also be necessary to construct special buildings in each of our major hospitals and designate them as isolation units.
It is crucial, Mr. President, to have the most qualified and experienced personnel to head the Ministry of health. The minister of health should have a wealth of knowledge and experience in medicine, health policies and emergency planning. I am not so sure our current minister is the best person for this job.
You owe this to the people of Sierra Leone, Mr. President, to make sure whoever occupies that office is capable of overhauling the current system and can create policies that will ensure continued health education programs for the public and implement and enforce infection control practices in all our health institutions.