By Mohamed Massaquoi
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation says as part of government’s efforts to tackle the deadly Ebola disease in the country, the ministry has sent 30 blood samples to the Harvard University in the United States of America for proper medical examination to ascertain the category of Ebola that is currently ravaging the country.
Dr. Brima Kargbo made the disclosure last Friday while receiving medical items donated by the Tegloma Federation International, a Sierra Leonean organization based in the diaspora, to various hospitals, including the Kenema Government Hospital, Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema, Daru health post and the Kailahun Government Hospital.
Kargbo said the ministry thought it prudent to send 30 prototypes to the “world class university” so as to determine the class of Ebola virus that is rampaging the three West African states of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia but with specific reference to Sierra Leone, so that more efforts could be made to curb the virulent disease before it engulfs the whole country.
“So far the type of Ebola strain [in the country] appears to be different from the one in DR Congo, and this is why we have sent 30 blood samples of the Ebola strain to Harvard University for identification,” disclosed the Chief Medical Officer. “Ebola is a disease of contact and those affected range from three years to over 60 years or more. If only people report to hospitals without delay, their chances of survival are high.”
Dr. Kargbo maintained that there are now 163 confirmed cases of Ebola in the country with 15 patients already discharged from the government hospital in Kenema. Most of the affected people, he added, are close relatives of those who have died of the disease. 142 out of the 163 cases are from the Kailahun District, he confirmed.
Kargbo further noted that they have requested from the World Health Organization (WHO) for a mobile Ebola lab so that people in remote communities can be tested without coming to Kenema.
He said the ministry, in collaboration with its partners, has already established isolation centers in Daru and in the Kailahun Government Hospital so that those infected can easily get medical attention.
“We are asking all Sierra Leoneans to come onboard in fighting against Ebola. The government alone cannot do it but I am sure with our collaborative efforts, we will tackle the disease,” urged the medical chief. “There is no definite time as to when we will finally declare Sierra Leone Ebola free but we will do our best as a ministry, with support from our partners including the chiefs and other local authorities, to address this problem. Tracing is now going on well and a lot of efforts have been put in our sensitization drive.”
The donation of the medical items by Tegloma Federation International will go a long way in the fight against the pandemic in the country, Dr. Kargbo stated.