Dr Khan’s Selfless Sacrifice was Abused and Misused
Since Dr Khan contracted a disease he was committed to fighting, a lot of stories have been told about how he may have contracted it. You might have heard people saying it was through his cell phone which he would use in and out of his protective suits, through recovered patients whom he would touch unprotected to assure them they were safe, through a sick baby who later tested positive or during the cause of fighting to save the lives of his dear colleagues, particularly the Lassa Fever nurse, who contracted the disease and died before him. While we continue to guess how he contracted it, the fact that he used to spend long hours in his protective clothing was totally unacceptable. It is reported that he used to spend 8 – 11 hours in his protective clothing which I consider both an abuse and a misuse by our authorities who only considered him a hero after his demise. How many of us knew about his selfless sacrifice before he was laid on his death bed? The answer to this will make one wonder whether he would have been praised a hero had he not died fighting. Nobody ever made mention of his relentless effort at that poorly equipped centre – instead, he was allowed to spend long unrecognized hours in those boiling suits.
For those who think being in those suits is that easy, let me hasten to let you know that aside the stigma of your being unsafe, dehydration stands out as another serious threat which can easily impair your health. It is estimated that one loses five (5) litres of sweat in just one hour wearing those suits. The danger is that your sweat does not dry until you get out of it. This is why after every hour-long shift, one has to take off two full hours to re-hydrate. This simply tells you how the poor doctor, a true patriot, a national hero, was abused by staying long hours in his protective clothing. While some were interesting in seeing more money transferred to the cause of fighting Ebola so that they can embezzle, he was there in a poorly equipped ward with a handful of nurses battling to save the lives of our fellow countrymen.
We have missed out on this cause since its beginning and we still continue to mess it. Serious preparations would have been made before it ever took us unaware. Instead, we were all busy with a senseless 3rd term debate styling it as ‘after u na u‘. Even MSF that came in very late is much more prepared to take on the disease. They have well over 200 trained and dedicated staff in Kailahun who work on shifts. How many do we have at the Kenema Ward? MSF has trained a good number of community people in Kailahun who are themselves helping the experts out. How much of this has been done in Kenema? This tells you why the number of reported cases is declining in Kailahun but soaring up in Kenema. It’s disappointing when you see a handful of people making noise around in the name of Ebola sensitization. I seriously question the quality of these sensitizations. I see vehicles driving at 50-60Km/hr presenting a message you can hardly understand. I consider this a joke and call for a step-up. These people need more reflection on Monday than anyone else. Of course I don’t want to talk about the paltry sum the nurses are being given as risk allowance ‘na one day pocket money‘. I only pray that God will protect all the remaining health workers who continue to work in terror. We can never pay you for such sacrifice but be sure that God Almighty will richly reward you.
Let no one make mistake about this disease. It is real and it knows no tribe, no colour, no political identity; it can kill anyone. I summon all of us to get very serious in fighting this deadly disease and observe the DOs and DON’Ts prescribed by experts and report any suspected cases. It’s good to note that even though the disease has no known medication, yet reporting upon seeing the early signs can make a huge difference. Don’t wait for the late signs – quickly report if any of the early signs persist. It is better to report and get medical attention than hide and die after spreading it to family members.
As it stands, the current outbreak has been classed the worst Ebola epidemic since its first outbreak in 1976. The charts below give statistics of Ebola confirmed cases and deaths as reported by WHO since 1976.
As we wait to reflect on Monday, I pray that God hears our cries and take away this dreadful enemy that is terrorizing this country.