NOVEMBER 25, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone on Sunday (23 November) visited the new Ebola Treatment Unit in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone.
H.E. Gladys Modupe Quist-Adebiyi, accompanied by Charge de Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in Freetown, Geraldine Bass-Golokeh, was taken on a conducted tour of the new facility together with Mayor of Makeni, Her Worship Sunkarie Kabba-Kamara, by Unit Coordinator Dr. John V. Sseutamu from the African Union (AU).
The 100-bed treatment unit, constructed by Addax Bioenergy Sierra Leone, commenced operation on Monday (24 November) with six patients, and it will be manned by medics from the AU and Sierra Leone.
In her brief statement after the tour, Madam Quist-Adebiyi announced that under the auspices of the AU, her government will be sending 100 doctors by the beginning of December to support efforts to eradicating the Ebola virus in the country, adding, “The doctors will be involved in treating Ebola patients admitted in the treatment centers and not staying out.”
She said she was impressed with facilities at the treatment unit and commended the effort of the medical experts, including doctors, nurses and lab technicians from the AU and Sierra Leone.
According to her, the visit to the treatment unit was to let the people know what the AU and Sierra Leonean health specialists are doing to help stem the spread and eradicate the disease from the country.
She commended Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses for their hard work in trying to eradicate the deadly disease, and described them as heroes.
“What has exacerbated the Ebola virus disease is the lack of holding centers. I want to say to our AU and Sierra Leonean medical experts in this center that it is not easy, but we appreciate your work. Let me thank you for putting your lives at risk to take care of the sick. Our prayers are with you and God will reward you,” she said.
She ended up by stating that Sierra Leone can overcome the disease but only if Sierra Leoneans adhere to what the government and health officials tell them to do.
Also speaking, Coordinator of the Unit, Dr. John Sseutamu stated that the unit is above the World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 8 doctors per 100 beds because they have a total of 11 doctors – 3 from Sierra Leone and 8 from the AU.
“We will start admitting six (6) Ebola patients on a daily basis. We are testing a system and so we don’t want to rush. We will be working in tandem with our Sierra Leonean counterparts. In the unit, we have the low and high risk areas,” he said.
On her part, Charge de Affaires of the Liberian Embassy, Geraldine Bass-Golokeh stressed the need for Sierra Leoneans to support the government in the Ebola fight because, according to her, even with support from the international community and other partners it would be difficult to eradicate the Ebola virus if people refuse to adhere to preventive measures.
Meanwhile, Resident Minister-North, Alie D. Kamara, commended the Nigerian government through its envoy for their support to end the outbreak, which has infected more than 5,000 and killed at least 1,300 since May.