(The lie is exposed in a British Association of Dermatologists Report)
Here I was being told that my left foot was spoiling and therefore the specter of amputation faced me with grim reality. However, I could not allow myself to succumb to an emotional determination of what was wrong with my foot. After all, I was convinced that I had a serious problem with my leg foot and I had witnessed my foot breaking but I was not convinced that I had reached the end of the road with a decision about the future of my left leg.
True, I had not been able to walk for two and half months but sadly, all the herbal treatment that I had allowed to be used on my leg foot had not helped and here I was facing the reality that my left foot was spoiling. A visionary leader had informed me that the situation about my foot was due to my co-workers and therefore I should be careful about them. I was really not convinced that any of my co-workers were responsible for the situation with my foot. In fact, my position was that if any visionary person believed that God spoke to them about my foot’s condition, then they should have more information about who was responsible about my condition that to tell me “to be careful” about my friends at work.
At another point someone had a dream in which an angry woman was claiming that “because of what I did to her, she will make sure that my left foot is cut as a consequence,” and o so when she told me about, I realized she was trying to pick my mouth about my encounter with any woman that I may have hurt and therefore was angry to punish me by sending me GOWA to punish me. I did not provide any information to any of the claims against me and therefore they just ended right there.
I then realized that I should not listen any of those who were claiming that someone was responsible for my predicament and I, therefore, decided to use medical science to heal the sore that been present on my left foot.
“I want a doctor to take care of my foot,” I told mother Cece, one of those who had been taken care of me.
She said, “GOWA does not need any doctor’s intervention, trust me. Through prayers and these antibiotics, God would take of you.”
I was convinced this woman did not have any intention to prolong my suffering. Just that she was asking me to tempt God. Why did I say so? Since Jesus Christ refused to turn a rock into bread and refused to throw himself down when the Devil asked to do so, there was no way that I was going to refused medical treatment and depended only on prayers and fasting by the center.
I said to her, “I like your effort to use God to help me but I must insist that I need a doctor to help me while I am seeking God’s intervention.” She realized that I was adamant on my decision and therefore she decided to do it my way. The first doctor I sought did not live up to the expectation and after ten IV injections with a significant change in my situation I decided to change him.
The second doctor, Dr. Sam Gibson, who appeared not to believe in the many stories about GOWA decided to help me. He began to treat me using injection (penicillin procaine) to heal the sore. Surprisingly, those who had insisted that GOWA never like injection relented their position and I went through the treatment and contrary to their expectation after a few days, I felt relief because the sore was healing. I congratulated myself for my decision to use Western Medication.
During a visit by the Daily Observer’s Managing Director (Mr. Bai Best) and the newspaper’s Editorial Supervisor (John H. T. Stewart), John hinted that GOWA, instead of being a man-made sickness was rather caused by bacteria.
I became interested in his claim and therefore I sought further information about it. Using the internet I came across a document produced by the British Association of Dermatologists, titled Cellulitis and Erysipelas and the document provides information for anyone to understand what the effects of GOWA are, what they cause and what can be done about them. To make the document more realistic, I am producing the information below for the reader’s perusal:
CELLULITIS AND ERYSIPELAS
Erysipelas and cellulitis are common infections of the skin. Erysipelas is a superficial infection, affecting the upper layers of the skin, while cellulitis affects the deeper tissues. They can overlap, so it is not always possible to make a definite diagnosis between the two.
What causes cellulitis and erysipelas?
Bacteria (germs) get through a break in the skin. This break can be very small, such as from a scratch, insect bite or injection, or from another skin disease such as athlete’s foot, eczema or a leg ulcer. The body’s immune system tries to stop the bacteria from spreading. If this is not successful, an infection will develop. Erysipelas is usually caused by bacteria called streptococci. Cellulitis is also often caused by streptococci, but many other bacteria may be involved, such as staphylococci.
Who gets cellulitis or erysipelas?
Anybody can get cellulitis or erysipelas, and once you’ve had it, you are more likely to get it again in the same part of the body. There are also some conditions which make cellulitis and erysipelas more likely:
• Athlete’s foot (fungal infection of the skin between the toe webs)
• Cuts in the skin, leg ulcers and pressure (bed) sores
• Insect Bites
• Intravenous drug use
• Alcohol excess
• Swollen limbs due to the veins or lymphatic vessels not working well (eg. lymphedema)
• Liver disease
• Poorly controlled diabetes
• An impaired immune system, e.g. in infants, due to illness, older age or medication
Are cellulitis and erysipelas hereditary?
What are the symptoms of cellulitis and erysipelas?
You may feel unwell and feverish with a high temperature and shivers. This may start a few hours or a day before the skin changes become visible. The affected skin will become sore, swollen, firm, warm, and red, and blisters may form. The nearest lymph glands may become swollen and tender. The area of affected skin may gradually get larger. These features can develop quite quickly, over hours to a few days.
What do cellulitis and erysipelas look like?
Cellulitis is most common on the lower leg and erysipelas on the legs and face, but any area of skin can be affected.
An area of redness develops and enlarges, often slowly with an ill-defined edge in cellulitis, and more suddenly with a sharp edge in erysipelas. Swelling and blisters may then develop, which can be filled with clear fluid or blood. As the blister top comes off, a raw area of skin can be seen. In severe cases, areas of skin may turn purple or black. There may be red streaks in the skin above the affected area.
How will cellulitis and erysipelas be diagnosed?
Cellulitis and erysipelas are diagnosed by the typical appearance and symptoms. A skin swab or blood tests may be taken to try to identify the bacteria in the laboratory; however, identification of the bacteria is rarely possible.
Are cellulitis and erysipelas serious?
The severity can range from mild to severe. This will depend on how large the red area is, which part of the body is affected (erysipelas of the face is more serious) and if there are any other health problems such as an impaired immune system or poorly controlled diabetes. Cellulitis and erysipelas can also lead to complications:
• Septicemia, also known as blood poisoning or sepsis (bacteria spreading through the blood, making the person very ill)
• Abscess (a collection of pus in the affected area)
• Infection spreading to deeper tissues, like the muscle or bone
• Long-term swelling of the affected site due to lymphatic vessel damage
• Increased likelihood of further cellulitis or erysipelas at the same site
• Kidney damage following streptococcal infection
• Meningitis following facial erysipelas
Are cellulitis and erysipelas contagious?
No, because they affect the deeper layers of the skin. They are different from impetigo, which is a superficial infection and is easily passed to other people.
Can cellulitis and erysipelas be cured?
Yes, and treatment with antibiotics at an early stage is important to prevent the spread of infection and the complications listed above. What tests are needed for cellulitis and erysipelas?
Uncomplicated cellulitis in a healthy patient does not require a blood test. Some people will have a blood test and swab of the affected area of skin.
What is the treatment for cellulitis and erysipelas (GOWA)?
An oral antibiotic (taken by mouth) must be given as early as possible and continued until the recommended course is completed. The antibiotic given to you will depend on your local trusts antimicrobial guidelines. If the condition is not improving, higher doses and longer courses may be required. More severe cellulitis and erysipelas are likely to need antibiotic injections or infusions in hospital.
Most people are treated with a form of penicillin, so it is extremely important that you tell your doctor if you are allergic to penicillin.
As long as the affected area is red, swollen and hot, it should be rested. In cellulitis or erysipelas of the leg, the foot should be rested higher than the hip to allow gravity to reduce the swelling.
Failure to improve to appropriate treatment may lead your doctor to seek a specialist opinion as sometimes this condition can mimic others. It is important that any breaks in the skin, for example, due to athlete’s foot or eczema, are treated to prevent repeated episodes of cellulitis. Your doctor may prescribe topical medication (in a cream) for this. Any leg swelling after the skin infection has settled should be treated with compression stockings until the swelling has gone completely. If there are repeated episodes of cellulitis or erysipelas, the doctor may suggest long-term preventative antibiotic treatment.
Self-care (What can I do?)
• See your doctor as early as possible if you think you are getting another attack of erysipelas or cellulitis. If the attacks become frequent, your doctor may give you a prescription for an antibiotic to keep at home and take as soon as you notice any symptoms of infection.
• You should follow advice about skin care to reduce breaks in the skin.
• Support stocking, leg elevation, and weight loss can help any remaining swelling of your legs.
• Avoid smoking and stay clear from smokers when using paraffin-based products, as these are highly flammable.
The reader should now understand that instead of claiming that some enemy is responsible when GOWA infects someone, the above information gave me the assurance because of ignorance many Liberians have concluded that GOWA is a disease from some enemy, of which it is not.
It is unfair to claim that human beings have the capacity to send, through juju, GOWA to the innocent, as it is the case in Liberia today. I believe that despite our weakness and our tendency to do evil, man is greatly good, for there is no Liberian on earth that would not want to provide support in their reach to bring relief to another human being.
The widespread ignorance in our society concerning the causes of some diseases is a danger that we must fight to the end. Many Liberians have died fighting GOWA, and that is more urgent for the medical community to help the process, otherwise many of our people will elevate preventable diseases as actions of the devil or witchcraft when all we need to know and do is find available medicine that eases our sicknesses.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Jackson has recuperated from his experience and has commended friends and sympathizers who provided financial and moral support through his experience.