6 August 2014

Liberia: Ebola Patients Stigmatized, Abandoned

Photo: Liberia Government
President Sirleaf consoles a health worker at the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia as they mourn the death of a colleague.

Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, there are glaring signs that some Liberians have developed enmity against their compatriots who have contracted the disease.

In most cases, those infested with the virus, have been abandoned at health centers by their relatives while less attention continues to be shown.

Now, the International Foundation for Human Dignity (FIND) has raised a number of issues concerning the way and manner in which individuals infested with the Ebola virus are being ill-treated.

Roosevelt Woods, FIND's Executive Director says his institution has investigated and uncovered how some Ebola victims have been stigmatized because of their medical conditions.

He said some Ebola victims who are currently undergoing treatment at various health centers have been abandoned, while less attention is being shown by their respective family members, and in some cases, medical staff due to the contagious nature of the virus.

Woods explained that from the investigation, FIND uncovered how some Ebola patients are not given food, water and other fluid that would help to sustain them, instead of leaving them to die with hunger.

He believes that quarantined individuals should be able to have access to their family, food, water and other items, but not to abandon them to die because of their unfortunate condition.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Woods called on the Liberian government to ensure that all health facilities that were closed be reopened.

He said the government is under constitutional obligation to ensure that doctors, nurses, and other health workers are provided protective gears so that they would be in the position to save lives.

Woods observed that due to the closure of health facilities across the country, the Liberian people are dying from different medical conditions (other than Ebola) which he thinks is unfair.

The FIND Executive Director said he has spoken with health workers in the central Liberian town of Gbarnga, who expressed their willingness to resume work, provided government re-opens hospitals, provide protective gears and other supports for their work.

He said the closure of health facilities in Gbarnga and other parts of the country would exacerbate the already appalling health system. Woods also wants the government to provide additional ambulance in Bong County.

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