Hospital workers protest Ebola victim’s body in teaching hospital’s morgue

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 29th, 2014
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University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) workers protested yesterday against the storage in their morgue of the body of Dr. Iky Sam Enemua, who died of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

The displeased employees, who pleaded not to be named, for fear of victimisation, urged the management of UPTH, on the East-West Road in the River State capital, to move the body from the hospital to avoid endangering their lives.

The protesting employees also admonished Chief Medical Director (CMD) Prof. Aaron Chinonye Ojule to ensure that the body is moved quickly out of the hospital and to consider the hazards, especially with the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), sharing a fence with the UPTH.

One of the protesting workers said: “Why did the management of UPTH allow the body of somebody who died of the dreaded Ebola to be in the mortuary of our hospital? We do not want to die now. You know that Ebola is a fast killer.

“We are kicking against having the Ebola body in UPTH. Prof. Ojule should save the workers and thousands of students of UNIPORT. Everybody is afraid of Ebola. Our children are still young. We want to be alive to give them qualitative education.”

Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) Dr. Charles Tobin-West, who is next to the CMD, described the protest as ridiculous, stressing that everybody was concerned about Ebola.

Tobin-West said: “If the persons who claimed to be protesting are tired of working in UPTH, let them resign. Are they working in the mortuary to now complain that body of Ebola victim is in our mortuary?

“I am not aware of any protest today (yesterday) in UPTH. The Federal Government’s team on Ebola was in the hospital, with all efforts being made to prevent infection. Everybody is concerned. Those who claimed to have protested should not cry more than the bereaved. There is nothing to worry about. I am assuring the patients, their relatives and other people who will come to UPTH, that the hospital is very safe.”

With quarantine, fumigation and adequate precautionary measures being taken by the management, saw Tobin-West and the Federal Government’s team, the body would not infect anybody.

Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi visited a temporary quarantine site in Oduoha, Emohua Local Government Area of the state to control the spread of the Ebola virus.

He said the facility would be upgraded to enable experts and professionals to properly manage and control the spread of the disease.

Amaechi assured that the involvement of technical partners, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, the American Embassy and the Federal Government would ensure that the disease is tackled and eliminated.

“This is a temporary quarantine site for the Ebola virus and we are working on it to upgrade the facility. The place is a bit out of town and we want to start from here while we continue to search for a permanent site,” the governor said.

He urged Rivers residents who have symptoms of the infection to boldly inform the government as plans have been put in place to give swift attention and treatment to the patients.

 Amaechi advised youths and people of Oduoha Community and neighbouring communities in the Emohua Local Government Area not to panic over the temporary site, adding that the Ebola virus is not air borne as confirmed by medical experts.

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