The Liberia Medical and Dental Association(LMDA) has begun making its presence felt among families of the affected Coronavirus (COID-19) doctors/health workers by paying visits and sharing with them food items, toiletries, among others.
The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) has reported that of the 99 confirmed cases, 18 are health care providers, including nurses and doctors.
And, one nurse who is said to have immensely contributed towards the fight and elimination of the Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia, has died from COVID-19.
It is against this backdrop that the LMDA, with financial support from the Rotary Club of Sinkor, over the weekend visited the homes of two COVID-19 affected doctors who work at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital and the Redemption Hospital respectively and presented to their respective families each, a bag of 25kg rice, several tins of sardines, toiletries and a number of sanitary materials, including chlora, deltol, sanitizer, among others.
Dr. Gorpu Dolo Dennis, LMDA’s welfare committee chairperson presented the items and admonished affected families to stay strong and rely on God for His healing mercy as their loved ones are undergoing intensive medical care at the 14th Military Hospital in Margibi County.
“We have also brought you some blankets, vegetable oil, farina, sugar, milk, eggs cubes and scratch cards in order for you to have something to eat and be connected via telephone with your son,” Dr. Dennis told Madam Beatrice Wilson, mother of Dr. Morris (COVID-19 patient from Redemption Hospital).
Due to stigmatization and ugly treatments now meted against Dr. Wilson’s fiancee and his children in Johnsonville, his mother, Madam Beatrice Wilson had to come out and receive the items from the LMDA family.
“They people in this community are angry with my son. They have accused him of bringing Coronavirus to this place, even though he reported himself early to the government for treatment upon experiencing the signs and symptoms of the sickness,” she said.
Beatrice added that some community dwellers nearly burn Dr. Wilson’s house and have resolved not to allow his family fetch water from the only community hand pump.
“His children are here with me but all day we have to stay indoor in fear of anyone harming them or even myself. We have to beg some good neighbors to help us with water to even bathe,” she said amid tears as she thanked the LMDA family for what she referred to as timely intervention based on the love they have for her son.
Dr. Theophilus Sieka of Catholic Hospital is also admitted at the 14th Military Hospital due to his infection by the COVID-19.
At his residence in the Duport Road Community, the LMDA family met his fiancee, Roberta Brown and her daughter (with Dr. Sieka) who were at home hoping that he (Dr. Sieka) returns home alive and safe.
“He informed me of his condition a few days ago but out of love for us, I mean his daughter and I, he decided not to come home. He was tested positive of COVID-19 and accepted to go to the 14th Military hospital for treatment. We talk on the phone everyday and he tells us each day that he will recover,” Ms. Brown informed the LMDA family who paid her the special visit.
Roberta said not only Dr. Sieka’s 4 year-old daughter but all other persons in the neighborhood they live do not know that Dr. Sieka has tested positive of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We are afraid. Making his case public here might cost us so much. We are not happy that he is away from his home these days but we have to be strong enough to keep it secret,” she said with a worried face as she received the tokens from the LMDA family.
Dr. Gorpu Dennis who led a delegation of six, including two others doctors, two drivers and a journalist from the Daily Observer, assured the families of the LMDA’s continuous support to them as God’s own healing Hand is placed upon the “front-line medical fighters.”
“We have about twenty more homes of affected medical practitioners to visit in a couple of days but our hearts are with you. We will do our best to keep in touch with you as the medical team at the 14th Military Hospital do their best to save the lives of our colleagues,” Dennis assured.
Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation with the Daily Observer, the President of the LMDA, Dr. Emmanuel Ekyinabah said he is worried that more of his colleagues might become prey to COVID-19 due to lack of proper training and necessary materials.
“We are appealing to the Ministry of Health to place a lot of attention on getting the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for our colleagues at the various hospitals. We have already lost one of them and we cannot afford losing more lives of those who are at the forefront trying to save other people’s lives,” Dr. Ekyinabah said.
He said every epidemic or pandemic has its own prevailing circumstances and as such, thinking that people are schooled and well trained because they have help in the fight against Ebola is wrong.
“We will not love to consider radical actions amid this health crisis but we need the necessary protection. We need better care and improved facilities,” he concluded.