Fighting an Invisible Enemy the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD): HEALTHCARE WORKERS IN LIBERIA

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The Clinical health care workers form the front line battling “brigade” fighting against an extremely dangerous, deadly and uncompromising “gorilla-style” invisible enemy fighter ( THE EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE) that comes camouflaged in clinical clothing that resembles malaria, typhoid, and other common benign infections thereby eluding its opponent, the Clinical health care worker, before it strikes.

Today there is a PALPABLE FEAR amongst clinical health workers, and very genuinely so, because the Ebola virus has disproportionately affected the clinical health workers. 

What is most frightening is the public disbelieve in the existence of the Ebola disease and therefore not taking the necessary preventive measures, which is due to their lack of trust in the system, Inadequacy of public education, insincerity of patients presenting for treatment (falsifying their symptoms when they know they are infected with the virus), inadequacy of training and protective gears to work with; the lack of functional prevention and control units in health facilities, and lack of adequate  health insurance for healthcare workers in the event when the unthinkable happens to them so that their families can be adequately cared for.

Unfortunately these Clinical health workers are the people who are dismissed, called greedy or punished whenever they ask for a little increment in their meager salaries. Today they are laying their lives on death row like soldiers in battlefront, in order to save the rest of the Liberian population.

To all my Colleagues (Healthcare workers in Liberia) there is no room for a dead hero in our profession kindly be prudent in the execution of your duties. While you should not neglect your patients you should be wise and careful enough to know which cases you can treat and which ones you should refer.

To my fellow Liberians let us trust the government and help to prevent the spread of this deadly disease and therefore help to protect the Health workers and the public at large.

With all the above the following recommendations in my opinion are necessary.

  1. Updated guidelines on the prevention and control of EVD be distributed to all health facilities private or public so that health workers can have them readily available when encountering a patient. If necessary be laminated and placed in screening rooms similar to the posters for the diseases under active surveillance.
  2. Government should establish an Infectious disease prevention bureau that will be solely responsible for the implementation of prevention and control of infectious diseases in the Liberia.
  3. Military should get involved in quarantining of patients at the isolation centers to avoid patients leaving the center.
  4. Vigorous contacts tracing to ensure all contacts are placed under surveillance for the 21 days incubation period.
  5. Vigilant border control measures
  6.  Ministry of Internal Affairs should Mandate all superintendents of counties to mandate all district commissioners, city mayors, and tribal chiefs to strictly implement the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.
  7. That good health care including nutrition is given to patients at the isolation to enhance their chances of survival.
  8. That emphasis on Health education in all tribal dialects is immediately implemented through electronic, print and social media.
  9. That there be compensatory consideration to families of health workers who die from the disease during the course of their duty.

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