I was relaxing this evening when I got the same shocking text message from three of my contacts saying there is now ebola virus in Port-harcourt, Rivers state. The message said that another ECOWAS diplomat who was in contact with the primary ebola victim, Patrick Sawyer escaped surveillance and travelled to Port-harcourt for treatment. He survived, but the doctor who treated him died last Friday and his wife raised the alert to the ministry of health. Two questions immediately come to mind.
- How did that happen? I mean how did the diplomat escape surveillance?
- What made the doctor act the way he did?
Typically, I would have started apportioning blame by now. For instance, blaming the government or the minister of health, the travel agencies that allowed him to travel. I'm pretty sure he didn't disappear and reappear. However, this is not a time to apportion blame, neither is it time for name calling.
While everyone was and is still busy working hard to prevent further spread of the virus, a doctor was harboring another in secret and doing what the general public would see as heroism. During this strike period by the Nigerian doctors, I have heard repeatedly from people how we have abandoned our Hippocratic oath, despite not fully understanding what it entails or how it has been revised over the years. Yes, it says "first do no harm" right? That's exactly what my colleague was doing by treating this diplomat. Now, I guess he made a mistake as no one knows his reasons for not alerting the public when he had the chance.
I will continue to stress the fact that we need to be more proactive, in order to effectively combat this virus and set our country free from it (conspiracy theory or not). Do not think that the virus is not yet in your vicinity just because it hasn't be announced in the news. Prevention is better than cure everytime.
The name of the hospitals and hotel mentioned in the text messages I received are as follows;
- Samstel clinic, Rumuokoro, Port-harcourt
- Good heart specialist hospital, Evo road, GRA, Port-harcourt
- Mandate Hotel
Finally, so far 15 cases have been confirmed. We must commend ourselves, while continuing to strive for the best. So, if you show any symptoms or know anyone who has symptoms. if you have visited any of these places or know of anyone who has done so recently, please kindly report to the River State Health Ministry for risk assessment. Do not hide and put both your family and the general public at risk.