''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 4

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Sunday August 24, 2014 - UK nurse with Ebola arrives on special RAF aircraft and escorted to hospital equipped with top of the line isolation ward and facilities. Health officials say he does not present a risk to UK residents. The recent knee-jerk law passed by Sierra Leone Parliament on Ebola is counterproductive. You do not legislate trust and respect.29 year-old male nurse William Pooley is now back in the UK. He was flown from Sierra Leone to the UK on Sunday August 24, 2014. We wish him a speedy recovery.A victim receiving care. What about the boy in the picture - no doubt her son. How safe is he?

A UK male nurse working with Ebola-infected patients in Kenema and who got infected with the deadly virus is back in the United Kingdom after being flown on board a specially-equipped Royal Air Force (RAF) C-17 plane.

The plane carrying him is reported to have touched down at about 8pm gmt at an RAF facility from where, escorted by police cars and motor bikes for ease of movement on the road was taken to a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead Heath in London.

According to the UK-based Daily Mail, 29 year-old male nurse William Pooley, though not attached to any recognised charity took upon himself the task of getting to Sierra Leone to help out after he'd seen and heard reports of just how bad the situation was in Sierra Leone where the health delivery system appeared to be overwhelmed by the vicious and treacherous attacks of the disease.

The BBC reports that - "The healthcare worker landed at London's RAF Northolt in a specially-equipped C-17 aircraft and has been transported to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London. The man is "not currently seriously unwell", a Department of Health spokesman said.

Health officials have stressed the risk to the UK remains "very low". The DoH (Department of Health) said the decision to return the patient to the UK was taken following "clinical advice".

Prof John Watson, DoH deputy chief medical officer, said they would be taken in a specially-adapted ambulance to a high level isolation unit - the only unit of its kind in the UK. Prof Watson said the UK had "robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases". "It is important to be reassured that although a case of Ebola in a British national healthcare worker residing in Sierra Leone has been identified and is being brought back to the UK the overall risk to the public in the UK remains very low," he said.

Dr Bob Winter, from NHS England, said preparations had been under way over the past few weeks to ensure any patient being repatriated to the UK received the best possible care."

Another UK news outlet Sky adds -

"The Royal Free has the UK's only high-level isolation unit comprising of a specially designed tent with controlled ventilation, which has been on standby since the latest outbreak. The Department of Health said: "The UK has well-established and practised infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease. "These will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission while the patient is in transit and receiving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital."

It is the first confirmed case of a British person catching the tropical infection, which kills up to 90% of those who contract it. Professor John Watson, Britain's deputy chief medical officer for England, insisted the risk to the British public remained "very low". "The precautions are what I would describe as belt and braces. We want to be absolutely certain there is no risk of infection by this patient to others in this country," he said.

"The medical services in Sierra Leone are very strained at the minute so it may well be the case that this person is brought to the UK for treatment."

We hope we succeeded in giving you a picture of what it means when caring for people believed to have been infected with the Ebola virus - that every precaution must be taken to ensure the safety of those who put their own lives at risk as well as caring for those so inflicted.

Kindly note just how the UK authorities were not prepared to take any risk and decided to fly one of their nationals home for the proper medical care which again points the spotlight on what needs to be done in Sierra Leone. Perhaps, just perhaps if we had been careful enough, we could not have lost and continue to lose those brave health workers who are at the forefront in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak.

This again highlights the need to be realistic in this fight and as we suggested, there's a dire need for proper isolation and treatment centres to be set up in key parts of the country manned by trained and dedicated staff. We do not want to hear of rogue health workers declaring people free of the virus for a fee as this helps to give a false sense of well-being with the resultant consequences of having the disease entering into areas that were hitherto free of it.

We would again want to pinpoint the many constraints the health delivery system faces in a country where even before the disease struck, could best be described as not fit for purpose with the poor carrying the brunt of the neglect in the face of numerous charges doctors and nurses would present to desperate and poor people.

How do you get those tested positive, say in Freetown or Kabala to Kenema given the roads that we have? The late Dr Modupeh Cole died in the fight against the Ebola scourge. RIP.

How long would it take to get patients to these wards?

How prepared are those manning these wards for the influx of those testing positive for the virus?

In what state/condition are they made to travel all that distance? How comfortable are they made before, during and after the journey given the heartless shenanigans of those involved to reap the maximum financial benefit from the suffering of victims in terms of fuel allocation to vehicles and the safe environment of these vehicles used to transport those tested positive?

We have been getting reports that the compromised Parliament and Judiciary have passed a law that should become effective should it be signed by the rat himself. The purpose of the hastily-passed law on Friday of last week was, according to the Attorney-General and Justice Minister Frank Kargbo, to do away with some ancient laws as well as making it possible for those who "hide Ebola inflicted people" to face a jail term of up to 2 years.

The Associated Press - AP - reports -

"Sierra Leone has passed a new law imposing possible jail time for anyone caught hiding an Ebola patient — a common practice that the World Health Organization believes has contributed to a major underestimation of the current outbreak. The new law, passed Friday, imposes prison terms of up to two years for violators, said lawmaker Ansumana Jaiah Kaikai.

It now goes for presidential approval. He said the measure was necessary to compel residents to cooperate with government officials, noting that some residents had resisted steps to combat Ebola and build isolation centers in their communities. A total of 2,615 infections and 1,427 deaths have been recorded in the Ebola outbreak now hitting West Africa, according to figures released Friday by the World Health Organization.

Sierra Leone has been hard-hit, with at least 910 cases and 392 deaths. But these numbers don't capture all Ebola cases because families hide patients, fearing high fatality rates and the stigma that comes with a positive diagnosis, the U.N. health agency said. Speaking Friday in parliament, Sierra Leone majority leader Ibrahim Bundu (APC ruling party of the rat) accused developed countries of being slow to respond to the Ebola crisis.

He said Sierra Leone had suffered "abandonment and isolation from those we viewed to be our biggest friends." "These ugly developments are evidenced in the cancellations of flights, closing of borders, reduction of operational hours of banks and further isolation by shutting down businesses at the time of greatest need," he said. Bundu said lawmakers would soon review the country's partnerships "to form a permanent record of who our true friends are." 

The less said of the Bundu insinuation and thoughtless rant, the better as he dare not ask the thieving rat (gronpig) and his band of nation wreckers to allocate funds from their secret bank accounts.Nurse Veronica Koroma - still at the front in the battle against the Ebola scourge. She survived the deadly Lassa fever infection.

How do you determine who has been hiding someone with Ebola?

In a country where fevers could be a symptom of many ailments, how can relations - mothers, spouses, siblings know that it it Ebola?

How can people contact health care officials and what is the response time?

How much help does the government offer or is willing to offer to people who suspect their relations could have been infected?

Again we have to refer to reports of bogus health workers who issue "free of Ebola" certificates for a fee and in such a case if those so issued are later proven to be Ebola virus positive, who do you send to jail?

The whole idea, in our considered view is flawed and what makes it even more frightening is that in a system where Parliament and Judiciary are compromised and under the thumb of the rat at State House, this could be used as a political tool to put away those who oppose the government's way of not only tackling the scourge, but the many facets of corruption that has become a part of the kingdom of the rat.

We again insist that Parliament and the rat cannot legislate respect and trust in the fight against the killer disease.

Instil a sense of trust in the common man - that their concerns would be addressed and there would be no need for a threat of jailing people, the majority of whom do not even understand how best to confront the disease not to talk about being able to know that a relation with a fever could well be suffering from Ebola.

This knee-jerk reaction does not help and clearly shows that those in authority remain clueless and lacking in focus as to how to galvanise the population into action without such a legislation.

It is counter-productive and we see it as a red herring to deflect away from the government's ineptitude and terrible handling of the ongoing crisis.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002