March 31, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Some twelve medical and administrative staff at the Rokupa government hospital, east of Freetown, have lost their lives while battling against the Ebola virus since the outbreak was confirmed in the country in May last year, according to Disease Control Officer at the hospital, Catherine Koroma, who was speaking to journalists and members of the Open Government Initiative (OGI) who visited the hospital on Saturday, 28 March as part of a monitoring of the three days stay-at-home from 27-29 March.
According to Nurse Koroma, the hospital was used as an Ebola Holding Centre at the height of the outbreak and that most of their colleagues who died were frontline workers, including nurses, clinicians and other support staff that were trying to save lives.
Nurse Koroma, who was on duty that Saturday when the team visited the hospital, revealed that despite losing twelve workers they were still able to work professionally after acquiring training in infections control from the British Military Medical Team sent to help fight the outbreak in the country.
She urged government to replace the deceased workers as the hospital had since scaled down on its Ebola operations and is now treating patients diagnosed with other illnesses as before, although they still maintain a unit for isolating any suspected case of the virus.
She commended the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for providing them with adequate equipment and other materials to fight the outbreak, including personal protective equipments (PPEs) and decontamination chemicals.
She reported that they had received no patients until that Saturday and that pregnant women and lactating mothers are now visiting the hospital, despite previous Ebola fears which forced most of them to abandon going to the hospital.
Nurse Koroma stated that they have been advising discharged Ebola survivors not to have sexual intercourse with their partners or any other person, adding that the National Ebola Response Centre still owes them hazard payment for about two months.
“How can we work properly when some of us are being denied the things that move us and our family, this is not fair,” she said.
She called on members of the public to stop disseminating negative conception about the Ebola virus, which according to her is breaching the trust and confidence of confirmed patients and those suspected of carrying the virus.