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Family members of late Nurse Justina and isolated Ebola victims reveal the ‘sorry’ state of the Lagos Quarantine centre

“Very sad. We did a lot to save her. She complained oxygen was being
supplied to only the big wigs there and we sent two yesterday. 8
cylinders more were on their way today before she died. We made sure
water was reconnected in the facility after it went off, and we
increased pressuring the govt. We wrote to the minister and introduced a
researcher on nano silver. They made contact and ordered it. The drug
was ordered from US and is also on its way with a doctor and will arrive
today.  I was so sure she was going to scale through. It’s
heartbreaking. I’ll send you more info later” a
source close to those who had access to Justina Ejelonu before her death told Myne Whitman.

As the number of fatalities from the Ebola virus in Nigeria
increased to four with the death of Justina Ejelonu, the unsatisfactory
situation of the  patients and suspected cases in isolation is beginning
to come to light.

Relatives and  colleagues of a  female medical doctor and other health workers
who contracted the Ebola virus from Liberian Patrick Sawyer, called
journalists for a press conference in Ikoyi, Lagos and disclosed how the
victims are left in horrible conditions and not properly taken care of.

Boyo-Ekwueme, a pathologist, and one of the concerned relatives
painted a picture of utter neglect of the female doctor and her medical
colleagues who have been placed in isolation at the Infectious Diseases
Hospital in Lagos (IDH).

The pathologist who claimed to have been to the IDH in company with
other family members and professional colleagues alleged that the Ebola
patients were not being properly looked after.

Arguing that proper basic treatment and immune boosting drugs that
can be of help to the patients were generally lacking, she concluded
that only “international help” could make them live a little longer. She
lamented,

“We are not fighting anybody. We are simply giving voice
to the voiceless. Those people in isolation at the IDH cannot voice out
these concerns. Let them have basic treatment. It shouldn’t be as if we
just stood there and abandon them and watch them die one by one.

“They are human beings. That female doctor is a patriotic Nigerian
and she needs to be helped. You people (journalists) should go there and
see the surroundings where they are being treated. You would wonder if
these are human beings who still have relatives.

“They are just being left on their own. Nobody is counselling them.
They are just there as if they have been forgotten. We should remember
that they didn’t ask to contract Ebola and it can happen to anybody. We
are appealing for international help for these health workers.”

Spokesperson for the group of seven concerned family members and
colleagues of the Ebola victims, Dr. Ladi Okuboyejo, stated that people
including medical personnel deployed were now running away from the
ailing victims. He insisted that the conditions under which the Ebola
victims were being looked after was appalling.

Okuboyejo, a medical practitioner, stated that there was a dearth of
requisite drugs and basic medical supplies needed by the victims adding
that the poor general sanitary condition of the isolation facility was
despicable. He stated;

“If a health facility doesn’t have light, doesn’t have
water and the sanitary system is not working properly then we have got a
problem. Now the patients are critically ill and their condition is
getting worse by day. People, including some medical personnel, are now
running away from them.

“The reality is that the disease is beyond our capacity to handle in
this country. The international community needs to rise up to our aid.
The victims are not being properly treated. Forget that the Nigeria
Medical Association is on strike, we cannot handle it.”

Another immediate family member of one of the patients, Deji
Akinyanju, who declined to name his ailing relative, stated that the
feedbacks he has got from the isolation centre showed that the Ebola
victims’ health was fast deteriorating.

He alleged that the Nigerian physicians working with the American WHO
expert were those with little or no experience in managing the highly
contagious disease.

With a note of disappointment in his voice, Akinyanju, who said he
had been visiting his critically ill relative at the IDH stated, that
the WHO expert have also highlighted the need for more experienced hands
to help salvage what remains of the health of the isolated health
workers.

“There is a need for more medical personnel that will
help look after them. Certain immune booster could also have been easily
given to them. We are just concerned family members. But from what we
have seen we think more can be done to help them.”

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