1 July 2014

Liberia: Nurses Flee Ebola - C.H. Rennie Hospital the Latest Hit - 441 Persons Contacted Ebola - 419 Persons Under Surveillance

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Residents of populated New Kru Town in Monrovia, where seven people reportedly died of the deadly Ebola disease.

As the Ebola is taking its toll on Liberians regardless of status, nurses at hospitals of affected counties are also not waiting to be caught pants down. As it stands, nurses at the C. H. Rennie Memorial Hospital in Kakata, have reportedly fled duty for fear of contracting the Ebola virus following the death of a patient last week.

Margibi County was one of the counties the Ministry of Health put under surveillance after an Ebola patient brought down from Lofa County was taken there unknowingly.

The patient (a female) was specifically taken to the Firestone Hospital by her husband, thus exposing the entire environment to hazard. However, the nurses have blamed their action on the lack Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to treat any would-be Ebola patient at the hospital, and added that "in the absence of the necessary protective equipment it was dangerous to their lives, families and communities to continue to attend to Ebola cases."

The Liberia News Agency reported that the nurses have vowed not to return to work until the necessary PPEs and other safeguards are provided for health workers dealing with Ebola cases.

The C.H. Rennie hospital is the second of hospitals where nurses abandoned work in relation to the Ebola virus, which is proving so difficult to be handled in spite of relentless national and international efforts.

One and half weeks ago, nurses and other staffers at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru went amok and subsequently fled work when a nurse who unknowingly attended to an Ebola patient also died of the virus.

Although the hospital is now opened to the public, apprehension remains rift amongst staffers as well as residents. Reports gathered by this paper last week had indicated that staffers including nurses at the John F. Kennedy Hospital were holding back from work amidst Ebola concerns.

The nurses were concerned about the lack of the PPEs to attend to Ebola patients there. The virus, which authorities say is incurable, is spreading as rapidly as possible with more and more Liberians being victimized.

Latest statistics released by the Health Ministry Monday said five healthcare workers, at least, are among the 49 Ebola deaths it has recorded as at June 29 across the country.

The Health Ministry has reported that 49 persons have died from the Ebola disease in Liberia from 90 confirmed cases as at June 29.

The ministry said the dead include five healthcare workers, 27 victims from Lofa County, 20 from Montserrado County and two from Margibi County.

"There are four new possible cases to be tested, eight tests pending, 25 patients in treatment units after three more admitted, including 21 healthcare workers," a statement said.

According to the statement, 441 people have been listed as having been in contact with the disease, while 419 are under surveillance. The first Ebola case was reported in Liberia in May 2014.

On June 26, Michael Tengbeh, 35, a trainee of the Kakata Rural Teachers Training Institute, died at the C.H. Rennie Hospital after testing positive of the Ebola virus.

Authorities of the hospital accordingly sent home 10 nurses that were on duty that day for 21 days after coming in contact with the late Tengbeh.

However, the Administrator of the C.H. Rennie, Raymond Cassel, was quoted as confirming the abandoning of work by nurses, and added the Ministry of Health was doing everything possible to ensure the availability of personal protective equipment for every health worker in Margibi County.

According to him, they have called an emergency meeting to persuade the nurses to resume duty pending the arrival of the protective equipment at the hospital, and added "the hospital needed spraying following last week's death of an Ebola patient at the facility."

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