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Doctors abandon isolation centre at Connaught Hospital

March 9, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Country Director of UK-based Kings Health Partners, an organisation that currently operates in Sierra Leone, Francis Kaikumba, has expressed disappointment over the abandonment of the refurbished former Ebola isolation centre, after his organisation spent close to a million pounds sterling to rehabilitate and transform the centre into a special emergency unit with 79 beds.

“With funds from the Department of International Development (DFID), we have rehabilitated the centre and the outpatient edifice with extra facilities that are first of its kind in Sierra Leone,” he said, adding that a resuscitation machine and oxygen inhaler to help unconscious patients were made available in the hospital for the first time.

He pleaded with the public to be making the best out of the facility regardless of the paucity of doctors at the unit.

He disclosed that the number of patients that visit the unit was increasing by the day and that they intend to expand the project by rehabilitating the trauma ward for victims who involved in severe accidents and become traumatised.

He mentioned lack of maintenance as one of the challenges facing the unit, adding that they would facilitate a training of specialist doctors to man the facility.

Meanwhile, Concord Times discovered that the centre has been abandoned because doctors are fearful of contracting the Ebola virus disease there.

“It is very challenging for us. Other doctors are still refusing to come to work at the outpatient ward. You know this place was formerly used as the Ebola isolation unit. I even find it very difficult to come to work because each time I come here I remember my fallen colleagues,” said Dr. Amin Sesay.

According to him, although ultra modern facilities have been fixed at the outpatient courtesy of Kings Health Partners in Sierra Leone, doctors were still afraid to work at the former isolation unit.

Prior to the advent of the Ebola outbreak in May 2014, the centre was used as an outpatient unit where patients could be observed before they were admitted, but was transformed into an Ebola isolation centre to observe people suspected of contracting the Ebola Virus Disease.

The country was declared free of the virus on 17 November, 2015 by the World Health Organisation, but long after another outbreak was reported in the northern town of Kambia, although only two persons were reportedly infected, with one surviving.

The country now awaits another Ebola free WHO declaration, which is a little over three weeks away.

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