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Ambulance carrying Ebola samples crashes

OCTOBER 24, 2014

An ambulance carrying samples taken from suspected Ebola patients in Makeni, Northern Province, yesterday afternoon rammed into a heavy caterpillar vehicle along the Lunsar-Makeni highway.

The ambulance was heading for the Kenema laboratory in the East of the country when the unfortunate incident happened.

According to a local journalist who witnessed the accident, there were no fatalities. He also confirmed that the samples (swabs) were safe and have been taken back to Makeni.

This is the second time an ambulance in the frontline of the fight against Ebola has involved in a road crash. The first was carrying confirmed Ebola patients from Tonkolili, also in the North, to the Kenema treatment center when it somersaulted along the way. All the victims survived the accident.

The fact that samples and patients have to be transported across different parts of the country for tests and treatment underscores the pains some people have to endure before accessing any treatment. Their samples have to travel first, after two or more days, the patients will now have to take the same journey as their samples over long distances, that is, if they are lucky.

Some have died before the results from laboratory tests return. This awkward situation speaks volumes about the difficulties our gallant health workers are facing in fighting this ignominious disease. It reinforces the urgent need for more laboratories and treatment centers to be set up across the country.

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