A view of Ebola

22nd May 2015 | Posted in Latest News, Nigel's Blog

Sierra Leone is now inextricably linked in our minds to Ebola.  I have just visited a treatment centre where our friends at the AHS hospital have been working to play their part.  We stood outside the “red zone” looking in as the doctor gave us an update.

I have been involved in a project to extend the hospital when the part finished building was caught in the Ebola crisis. 2 staff died and after 21 days quarantine the hospital became an Ebola centre.  This brought some infrastructure, electricity and reliable running water.  I thought they had finished the ward we were building but actually it was given a basic update so is still along way from being finished!

A group of Cuban medics had been based at the hospital but were now gone.  they had done a great job.

I had assumed the staff were being paid from the Ebola funds sent from overseas but no.  Whilst expats earn significant amounts, these front life staff risk their lives without being paid.  It is hard to survive at the best of times but under these conditions the system seems so broken.  Having talked to a Public Health England lady on the way home, she had been surprised by the generosity of her allowances.  All this money to help Ebola troubled Sierra Leone, yet with the auditor general asking where £8 million has vanished too, and so much used keeping the foreign medics safe and well housed and well paid, one has to ask why the front line Sierra Leone staff don’t even get paid!

The hospital ceases being an ebola centre at the end of the month. It can return to primary health care.  Many die of other things than Ebola as there is such limited access to primary health care.

After several days with no reported cases, next week, more will be reported.  The restrictions Freetown faced with hand washing and temperature control are randomly and minimally enforced.  Many think it’s all over – it isn’t yet.


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