Ebola and the At Risk Healthworker!
Hmmmmmm.....***deep sigh....."Thank God Government Hospital Doctors have been on strike"! As sick and selfish as this may sound to an outsider, it was one of the first things that crossed my mind following confirmation that the Liberian-American patient who had presented at a Private Hospital in Lagos on the 23rd of July was indeed a case of the deadly Ebola virus disease!
It was truly sad to hear a few hours ago, and sad still to know that the colleague who treated the Liberian had tested positive to the virus!. The doctor was said to have been part of a team that attended to Patrick Sawyer, the 40-year-old Liberian-American civil servant who collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport.
I however must point out here that if the Government hospitals had been fully functional , with the doctors at work, chances are that many more caregivers, including doctors and nurses alike as well as a good number of in-patients admitted on wards would have come in contact with the Patient zero and we might already have had a huge outbreak of the virus in the city of Lagos.
It should be recalled that 2 American doctors working for charity in Liberia also contracted the disease and have since been flown to a centre in Atlanta , U.S to receive care.
While various preventive measures including quarantining of exposed persons
, distribution of protective clothing to health workers and screening of airport and seaport passengers arriving from at-risk countries. The healthworkers continue to be at the greatest risk of contacting the virus which has a 90% fatality rate.
If there is indeed an outbreak of the virus, how much protection can the healthworkers really have from the patients that continue to walk into the clinics and hospitals especially in a densely populated city like Lagos.
With 70 people still under surveillance and 8 to be quarantined for developing suggestive symptoms according ro the Minister of Helath in Nigeria, how many more healthworkers who attended to the Liberian or those who have been in contact with the doctor ( the latest patient) will be testing positive over the next few days???
How safe is it to attend to that next ill looking patient that comes into your consulting room somewhere in Lagos Island with a fever and cough?
Are we in the wrong profession at such a time as this?
The Ebola Crisis gets "realer" by the day!