by Abdul R Thomas
Another Sierra Leonean doctor has died of Ebola, since the death yesterday of doctor Martin Salia.
Dr. Michael Moses Kargbo – an experienced surgeon, became ill last Saturday and was admitted at the Hastings Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by doctors today.
He was aged 70 and suffered from multiple longterm conditions, including hypertension and diabetes, but contracted the Ebola virus which killed him.
Dr. Michael Moses Kargbo had retired from the country’s health service, but was brought back from retirement to join the battle against Ebola.
Sadly, this afternoon, he too succumbed to the mighty will of Ebola.
Once again we ask: Is Sierra Leone fast losing the war against Ebola?
Many in Sierra Leone are deeply troubled by the government’s silence over the death of both Dr. Salia and Dr. Kargbo.
It is customary for the country’s ministry of health to publish a press statement acknowledging the passing of its doctors and expressing sympathy to their families. But astonishingly, it is now well over twenty-four hours since Dr. Salia passed away, and yet the ministry of health nor State House has seen it fit to issue a statement.
It seems president Koroma and his government are no longer capable of doing what is right in the circumstances, let alone expected to do the right thing. How sad and irresponsible.
With over 5,000 people now confirmed as Ebola infected, the people of Sierra Leone are bracing themselves for what is expected to be a miserable Christmas.
Doctors and nurses across the country are tonight worried about the increasingly high risk of contracting the virus. A total of seven doctors and scores of nurses have lost their lives in the last four months.
It is not certain what is causing the continuing high incidence of infection among health workers. Is it the lack of effective protective wear?
Is it lack of proper training as to how to put on their protective wear? Is it forgetfulness on the part of health workers about taking precautions when attending to patients?
Is it simply that the available protective wear are too cumbersome and inappropriate for the local climatic conditions?
Or, are some health workers failing to take necessary precautions outside of work, hence getting infected during domestic and social interactions?
Whatever the answers to these questions, the fact remains that at the current rate of infection among health workers, including doctors, the death toll will continue to rise, if a thorough investigation is not carried out as to why so many of them are succumbing to the virus.
Something is going seriously wrong, and if the government really cares, it will make it its business to find out and take steps to halt this catastrophic loss of the only hope the people of Sierra Leone have of surviving the virus – the skills, dedication and expertise of the country’s health workers and doctors.