Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ebola update: Liberia and health anxiety continues

What you need to know about Ebola: To help calm your fears

by the Science Show


Life is slowly returning to normal in the  Liberian capital Monrovia, hospitals are gradually reopening including JFK, Catholic hospitals, shuttered restaurants and businesses have reopened and people are leaving their homes. Elementary and secondary schools in Monrovia are still closed for the time being. Some 1,000 people women, men and children across West Africa have dead from the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Doctors, nurses and many healthcare workers have also been added to the decease. There are many more people currently infected with Ebola who are under quarantine across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and now Nigeria. Two people have died from Ebola in Lagos sending Nigerian health workers and the governor of Lagos state into alert mode. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and medical workers in Lagos and Nigeria have warned urgent preventive measures are needed to halt Ebola from spreading in Lagos and across Nigeria to neighboring countries. Nigerian aviation and health officials want to know who was responsible for allowing Patrick Sawyer, Liberian American Finance Ministry worker to travel despite showing early symptoms of Ebola and eventually dying from the virus days later in Lagos.


 El Sacredot Miguel Pajares ha mort



The Spanish missionary priest turned Doctor Miguel Pajares succumbed to Ebola today at a Madrid hospital. Pajares had worked in Monrovia for some years with San Jose de Monrovia Hospital aka St. Joseph Catholic Hospital. He is the first European to die from Ebola. Now the Spanish doctors and nurses who treated him will now need to not only be tested but possibly quarantined if the Ebola virus is found. The Spanish health ministry will possibly be the next country to sound alarm bells over Ebola.

Its not your fault, though...

Liberia as a whole is not being directly blame for spreading Ebola nor is it the country of origin for the virus. The US media has up the fear of a pandemic when reporting on Ebola in West Africa. However, Liberia's Ebola fight and crisis has been in the spotlight following the evacuation of two Ebola infected American doctors now at Emory University Hospital in Georgia. Both doctors had taken an untested but experimental drug Zmapp prior to their evacuation.  Although its final affects are still in its infancy, Zmapp has helped to slightly improve Kent Brantly's recovery. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) might provide Liberia with some supplies experimental drug Zmapp to help fight off Ebola. Although the company making the Zmapp has warned its supplies are extremely limited. Eyebrows are still being raised as to how the doctors were able to receive the drug while their Liberian counterparts didn't. In the middle of the Ebola panic, the United States recently hosted a US-Africa summit pledging support for African manufacturing and trade instead of the usual aid. The U.S. is only now embracing Africa as a serious economic partner since the BRICS countries have been doing the most trading and business with several African countries among them Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Angola, Tanzania and Kenya. Unlike Western countries, the BRICS are more lenient to working on construction and vital agriculture development without strings attached for the most part.

Meanwhile in Liberia, ordinary Liberians and politicians alike have been mourning the lost of courageous health workers. Two nuns Laurene Togba and Sister Chantel Pascline from the DR Congo working on St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Monrovia applauded for their tireless efforts to care for their patients, have both passed away from Ebola to the sadness of their coworkers and patients. To assuage fears of loosing more patients and crucial health workers, the Liberian government has promised outstanding incentives to keep hospital staff in Monrovia and other cities across Liberia protected and keep crucial hospitals open to the wider public.

There are survivors


Just as much hundreds have died from Ebola, there have been few survivors. The 10% of Ebola patients do survive and recover from the virus. Yet, the Guineans, Liberians and Sierra Leoneans who lived to tell their stories are still shun by family and friends. Fear and ignorance about the disease keep people distance from the survivors. Nevertheless, family members and friends do provide support for survivors. Returning to normal lives is not an easy task for many who have to readjust to a combination of anxiety from society and deal with daily life. It is the survivors who are helping to calm society's fears and educating the public about the early stage and after affects of Ebola. It is through their stories that people have learned that their misconceptions aren't always what it seems. Survival stories are helping both former Ebola patients, families and society better prepare to fight off the virus and regain their sanity.

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