Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Empower families to nurse Ebola patients

Published:Wednesday | October 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Marie Nyan, 26, whose mother died of Ebola, carries her two-year-old son, Nathaniel Edward, to an ambulance after showing signs of Ebola infection in Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia. AP

THE EDITOR, Sir: I write to commend Ms Fatu Kekula of Liberia and recommend her management of Ebola to the Jamaican authorities and public.

According to Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent, on September 24, 2014, Ms Kekula, a nursing student, nursed her four relatives who had Ebola, losing only one, her cousin, Alfred, even though he spent his final day in hospital. Her father, mother and sister survived. The death rate from Ebola is usually 70 per cent, and the company of the dead includes health-care workers.

Ms Kekula nursed her relatives at home and has not come down with Ebola. She protected herself by using garbage bags on her hair and legs, encasing her hands in four gloves and wearing a raincoat and mask. She wore socks and boots on her feet and covered the socks and then the boots with the garage bags.

Resource shortage

Ms Kekula nursed her family back to health with the help of the family doctor, who gave advice on the phone.

Given the shortage of hospital personnel and bed space and other scarce resources in Jamaica, wouldn't it be better to train our population, whether as families or communities, to cope with less-serious cases of Ebola?

Persons with more serious Ebola could be taken care of in special facilities staffed by volunteers. In this way, we are less likely to end up with several hundreds, even thousands of patients per two or three health-care worker. Instead, we will have persons being treated in the comfort of their own homes or communities by trusted loved ones and/or neighbours.

Jamaicans are known for their big hearts and kind ways to the sick. Let us not leave them out of the plans for preventing and managing an Ebola outbreak (should it occur) on our beloved island.

PARRIS BROWN

bparis841@gmail.com

Rosemount, Montego Bay