In Sierra Leone the Ebola epidemic is out of control. Over 1,500 people have contracted Ebola, and more than half of them have died. 500 new cases have come to light in the last 3 weeks alone. Every day, more than 20 people fall ill with the disease.
“We decided to open this Ebola Treatment Center because the epidemic isn’t showing any signs of letting up. The positive cases can only increase and more healthcare personnel, isolation wards and beds will be needed to treat them.” says Luca Rolla, EMERGENCY Medical Coordinator in Sierra Leone.
The first patient arrived just 4 hours after our new Ebola Treatment Center opened on Thursday, September 18th, right before the three day lock down of Sierra Leone. Kadiatu a young women of 18, came to our Lakka Ebola Treatment Center on her own initiative.
EMERGENCY has purposely set up a structure made available by the local health ministry. It’s sub-divided into a waiting room, a triage area, a 10-bed isolation area for suspected cases, a 12-bed treatment area, a disinfection area and a mortuary. There’s also a service area with changing rooms, a storeroom, a laundry and kitchens.
About 110 people are working at the Lakka Ebola Treatment Center; these include doctors, nurses, logistics managers and cleaning staff. Most of them are from Sierra Leone with international personnel from Italy, Serbia, Spain and Uganda. We are recruiting nurses and doctors in the United States.
To safeguard both patients and staff, all personnel members have followed a specific training course involving protection protocols, the use of personal protective equipment, and the correct movement in the set paths within the Ebola Treatment Center to prevent the spreading of the virus and subsequent contamination.
Since the epidemic broke out, all of our work at our hospital has been reorganized to limit the risk of contagion as much as possible. The national and international staff have received training about protection protocols. Two isolation tents have been set up in the hospital complex, far away from the medical buildings, and the entire hospital is subjected to specific disinfection procedures.
Our dedicated and talented staff are working round the clock to handle the surgical emergencies and treat hundreds of cases of malaria, infections of the airways and malnutrition in children who otherwise wouldn’t get any treatment at all.