DECEMBER 19, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Sierra Leone was greeted with sadness and grief in the early hours of Thursday (18 December) following news that the nation’s most experienced doctor had died of the Ebola virus disease, four-days after he was diagnosed with the virus.
Dr. Victor Willoughby was reported to have contracted the deadly virus after he treated a senior banker, who later tested positive with Ebola and has since died.
His death brings to 12 the number of Sierra Leonean doctors to have contracted the disease, with 11 succumbing to the virus.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, Dr. Willoughby’s death is the most tragic to hit the country since the passing away in July of top Ebola specialist, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, who was instrumental in saving the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans before his demise.
“We all looked up to Dr. Willoughby and would consult him on many issues relating to our medical profession,” he said.
Outreach Coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesperson, Abdulai Bayraytay, told Concord Times that the death of the veteran physician and lecturer at the school of medicine has further dealt a devastating blow to both government and the citizenry, given that the country continues to lose health professionals who should otherwise care for those infected with the Ebola virus.
“We have been challenged as a country when you look at the ratio of doctors to patients. I want to use this medium to encourage our doctors to continue to be very vigilant in treating patients,” he said.
Meanwhile, junior doctors are still on strike although they maintain partial presence in some hospitals, as they continue to agitate for improved conditions to enhance protection against infection, and to be assured of quality treatment should they get infected.