By Ruth Oginyi
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) otherwise called Doctors without borders, an international medical, humanitarian organization, on Friday donated a building for Lassa fever patients’ caretaker to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA), Ebonyi State.
The building located inside the virology centre, at the teaching hospital is where caretakers of Lassa fever patients who can’t take care of themselves shall be staying while the hospital feed them free.
The patients’ caretaker house is the second building being donated by MSF, last year, they donated observation Bar unit (house) to the hospital, all is aimed at controlling Lassa fever virus in the State.
These buildings were donated by MSF, an NGO that responds to emergencies, epidemics, natural disasters and delivers assistance to people in distress.
The Doctors without borders collaborate with ministry of health, Environment as well as the federal teaching hospital to prevent and treat Lassa Fever for free, their assistance have saved many lives.
While commissioning the building on Friday, the hospital Chief Medical Director (CMD) Dr. Emeka Onwe revealed that it has recorded 81 confirmed new cases of Lassa fever virus between January and March 2020.
The CMD, while thanking the group, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who have been partnering the hospital to combat the virus noted that the hospital has manpower but seriously need ventilators, dialysis machine, table ultra-sound, mobile x-ray Machines and other equipment to be able to match the disease squarely and called for the assistance from MSF, Governments and public-spirited individuals.
Dr. Ogah urged the health workers to continue to show commitment to the work, pointing that what gives a health professional joy is that he/she treated a difficult situation and the patient survives.
He also advised the health workers to avoid being hostile on patients who are seeking for medical attention rather to be friendly with them.
He said, “In the next two years, these Doctors will leave, how will the institution cope? Imagine where we didn’t have MSF, what would have happened this year? There would have been a very serious crisis.”
“Some people here did not know that there is an outbreak of Lassa fever in Ebonyi state. If you go to the town and talk of Lassa fever, they will doubt what you are saying. They will ask if it still exist.”
“As at three days ago, the total number confirmed from January was 81. Some people now sacrifice their time and money to pay for every patient; whatever thing that patient has enjoyed here. At times, they will even buy coffin for the burial of those that died. It is something we need to reflect on. If people will leave the comfort of their home to come and save us, it is something we have to reflect on and rethink on what we will give to the society.”
“Now, we have the manpower but lacking the machine or equipment to work. There are other things that if we have it here, I think we will have better outcome. The room for the dialysis is very small and very inconveniencing. We need things like ventilator, we need more dialysis machines, things like table ultra-sound, we need mobile x-ray. So, if our government is not supporting us the way they should and you people have seen that we are supposed to be encouraged because of our commitment, we will be very pleased if such things are factored in and MSF come to our rescue. Those things will help us to improve lives.”
“Because it is our people that are sick, those that are sick have not committed any offence, they should not die. So, if other government is not giving us adequate support here, we will look for a way of helping our people. Whatever thing you do for a patient, God will reward you. We are really blessed because in January/ February 2018, we had three deaths within 48 hours”, he told the Doctors.
Earlier, Head of Mission, MSF OCZ, Andrew Mews said there is every need for the federal government to increase health budgeting.