Ebola patients’ families cry out: our relations are dying

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 15th, 2014
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From the families and colleagues of doctors and medical officials quarantined in Lagos after contracting the Ebola virus came yesterday a distress call –  they are dying.

According to them, the  patients are being treated by doctors, who are inexperienced in the treatment of Ebola. The relations, at a news conference in Lagos, urged the government to seek international help.

But Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said in Abuja that Nigeria would get today a drug  to treat the patients.

Giving an update on the Ebola situation in Nigeria, Chukwu said there was a new case – one of the doctors who treated the late Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer.

An infected  nurse also died yesterday, bringing to four the number of people who have died so far from the Ebola virus.

The minister, who confirmed the death in a statement last night, said there were 10 confirmed cases of the virus.

Those who died earlier are  Sawyer, a nurse and a protocol officer with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

They contracted the virus from the index- Sawyer.

Eight people who are down with the virus are confined to Lagos, where they are being treated.

Relatives and concerned friends of the Senior Consultant Physician & Endocrinologist, Dr. A.S. Adadevoh, of the First Consultants Medical Centre, urged the United States and the international community to help the patients.

A consultant physician,  Dr. Ladi Okuboyejo, Managing Director of the Health Management Organisation (HMO), said: “When you turn on your television now, the first news item you her about is Ebola. A few victims have passed on and the question is, what is the state of things in our nation right now? We have been following it very closely because a couple of us happen to know a number of people who have been quarantined and it is obvious to all of us that are concerned that it is beyond what we can deal with. We would not want to paint what is black white, but it is beyond what we can deal with right now and, therefore, we feel that there is a need for us to make this urgent cry for help for the international community to come to our assistance.

 “It is important that we reflect and try and see how things happened. I am a medical doctor and I am surprised that they made the diagnosis in the first instance because this is a man that could have gone somewhere else and could have been treated for malaria and he could have died and spread the virus like wild fire. However, the chief consultant that attended to these patients, who is also being quarantined right now, felt it was very necessary for them to send the blood sample for screening after which it was confirmed and she insisted he must not leave the hospital.

“So I think we must get the facts right and really come out. We are particularly concerned that if someone could be so patriotic as to save millions of Nigerians from the hardship of this pestilence, the least we can do is to make an appeal to the international community for assistance.

“Two Americans were flown to Atlanta for help. The chap who brought this thing to Nigeria was an American. Our question is that what is the international community doing for us? For example, the patients that are there under quarantine, do they even have water? Do we have the facilities to cope with this? It is a big question mark.

“We know that the government is trying, but certainly there is a lot more we can do to improve the situation. This is why we are making this passionate cry and appeal to the international community to come to our aid so that this doesn’t get out of control. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and, God forbid, if this turns out of control I mean the consequences you all know. So we have to make this passionate appeal.

“As we speak, a number of the people being quarantined are critically ill and we are concerned. We are seriously concerned. If America can fly their citizens to America for treatment, we need their help. We need the help of the international community, the international Red Cross and all those to come and assist us.”

A retired pathologist, Dr. Hellen Boyo Ekwueme, said the situation of the patients had become so critical that something urgent needed to be done.

“The seven people that have been quarantined are now helpless. We are not happy about the way they are being treated. The government is overwhelmed though we are not here to lay blames on anybody. We do not know what to do.  We need help. The U.S. should also show some kind of responsibility because Sawyer who brought the surge to the country, was their citizen,” she said.

One of the patients’ relatives, Mr. Deji Akinyanju, noted that the victims were being neglected and their chance of recovery was faint given the inadequate facilities. He urged Nigerians to help in seeking foreign support for the patients.

“We should see this as a collective cause. Anybody can be a victim. We want Nigerians to show concern for these patients by seeking aid on their behalf. We do not want to lose them but their condition is very critical,” he said.

When asked to precisely state the condition of the patients, the group advised reporters to visit the hospital and see things for themselves. Some reporters, however, said they were being restricted by the hospital’s security guards from seeing the patients.

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