New machine to detect Ebola


July 16, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

As the country battles to get to zero Ebola virus cases, Chief Executive Officer of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh has disclosed that a new machine called ‘Genexpert’ will on Tuesday, 21 July be available at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) and Ola During Children’s clinic to conduct tests for the deadly virus, adding that the machine has the capability to process an Ebola sample in an hour’s time.

According to him, the machine will significantly reduce the pressure on the health infrastructure, which will be a most welcome development. He revealed that the 34 Military Hospital, which had been in a standby position, has started operations with twenty holding centres and twenty Ebola virus confirmed bed spaces.

He said the increase in the number of sick people was a result of the raining season, adding that it has also increased the risk of spike in new Ebola cases, and cautioned that health workers must be prepared.

“Many of the symptoms of these illnesses are consistent with case definition for the Ebola virus and this will put pressure on our Ebola health infrastructure,” he said. “Bed spaces will be in demand in holding centres and I am particularly concerned about the situation with the children at Ola During.”

The NERC CEO also made mention of a case at PCMH that involved a young baby from Goderich which, according to him, was caused by cross-contamination in the natal ward at PCMH, adding that an investigation was underway as to how and why infection prevention and control procedures seemed to have failed at the largest maternity hospital in the country.

He said the failure in infection prevention and control was a matter of grave concern to NERC and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

“I have asked for an emergency meeting to take place as soon as possible with the Ministry of Health and our partners to understand what happened and to finally put measures of accountability in place so that people face up to their responsibilities,” he disclosed.