By: Winstanley R Bankole. Johnson
A visit to any of the Ebola Treatment Centers now doting the country’s landscape is an experience worth sharing. Our own choice destination last Friday 21st November, was the one at the Police Training School Hastings, approximately 21kilometers outside Freetown – recently opened to complement and manage the surge of new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) victims within the entire Western Area axis.
In The Way
Two fundamental reasons informed our visit-: (1) to empathize with patients and support the medical corps that is entirely Sierra Leonean (and comprising Doctors, Nurses, Clinicians, Hygienists, Dieticians, Nutritionists, Porters, Drivers, Cleaners and Cooks) all numbering over 230 for their tremendous sacrifices in their battle with an enemy that is both unpredictable and unseen; and (2) to respond to our humanitarian and corporate commitments to care for others in distressed circumstances, engendered by an awareness that being also “in the way” and knowing not what may befall us, it were better for all of us, insofar as resources permit, to pave that way both for ourselves and our connections (just in case) as the EVD is not barrier- compliant.
Commitment and Zest
A high-powered S.L. Commercial Bank Ltd delegation under my leadership as Board Chairman, and which included Director Hon. Salaymatu Turay, Mr. George Taylor deputizing the Managing Director Mr. Idrissa A Kamara (who in fact initiated the trip but was unavoidably on leave), Miss Aminata Kamara, the Director of Human Resources & Corporate Affairs; and Nursing Sister Hellen Baker of the Bank’s Medicare arrived at the Treatment Center into the warm embraces of the Coordinator Dr. Santigie Sesay and team which also included Dr. Sheku Kanneh, Capt. Dr. Songu Mbriwa, Lt. Dr. Billy Sankoh, Matron Mabinty Mansaray, Nursing Sisters Fatmatta Samura, Isha S Mansaray and a host of other support staff, all of them relatively young, dynamic, ebullient, results-oriented and beaming with commitment and zest.
Empirical Corporate Leadership
Rather interestingly as if to underscore the Bank’s undisputed and empirical corporate leadership role, Dr. Santigie Sesay unequivocally affirmed that the S.L. Commercial Bank Ltd very first Bank to have identified with the aspirations of Treatment Center since its existence. He couldn’t have been more accurate, and to which the Director of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs promptly committed the Bank’s periodic interventions to all other Treatment Centers throughout the country in the coming months.
At the Hastings Treatment Center, and as is replicated throughout all Treatment Centers across the country, there is no distinction between rank and status. An underlying commitment to duty and service to humanity would appear to have subsumed all such premonitions, hence the relative life-saving successes at each. A unique “spiritedness” engendered by a strict sense of discipline is easily discernible, so that in between duty shifts, workers would cluster to discuss the patients’ details, mutual hopes, strategies and of course, lunch. They would wander in and out of the wards strictly observing routine disease prevention credos, in as much the same way they would knock off to return to their respective homes and families, and return to duty when required. To date, and in as many months down the line, the Hastings Treatment Center, like many others has through God’s direct supervision been able to maintain a zero-infection rate amongst its work force. Our prayer is that it will remain so at every Treatment Center henceforth until the scourge is defeated.
Our delegation was taken through a crash course on how to manage suspected Ebola cases to avoid spreading the disease and the basic drugs to keep and administer in case of need, until a positive response from 117 arrives. These include Ciprofloxacin, Flagyl, Paracetamol, ORS and Immuno-boost, to which list this cowardly author has added Lucozade and Pimperrin (to stop vomiting). We were also warned against attempting to suppress fevers and or taking an overdose of lomotil or Imodium to prevent the virus from mutating and accelerating damage to our internal organs. Hmmmm!!!!
Credible evidence exist that miracles have continued to occur at all of our Treatment Centers, as even those once described by the healthcare givers at the Bo Treatment Center as “the sickest ever patients” have recovered and been discharged. But all of these centers need help and public support, especially as in virtually all of them, food supplements, enriched multi-vitamins, ORS and drinkable water are in permanently high demand. Add to that fact the insatiable appetite of recovering patients and the enormous strain their demands can have on the meager budget of the Center dieticians.
Thankfully unlike previously when victims would have had to be taken to distant and unfamiliar locations for treatment, the proliferation of Treatment Centers across the country now offers family members a proximity to, and an opportunity to arrange alternative dietary supplements for their own patients, which no doubt has been helpful to a number of victims’ recovery processes.
So wherever you are, readers are encouraged to also arrange group visits to any EVD Treatment Center in their localities, not only to get a firsthand experience of what really goes on inside those Treatment Centers, but also to empathize with the victims, which will no doubt soften even the hardest of hearts as to make them feel as nearly afflicted in their afflictions, and possibly motivate them to make such token donations as they may feel disposed to give.
It has to be noted that culturally, the friendlier and well behaved you are with and to those dispensing justice, the more leniently disposed they are likely to be towards you in case you fell afoul of the law. Equally so, I believe that a corresponding reciprocity awaits all those who publicly demonstrate appreciation of, and recognition for the tremendous sacrifices being made by all those working at our various Treatment Centers in the event they fall victims to the disease. This within the scriptural context is neither bribery nor favouritism, but simply a practical demonstration of Matt.25:40, paraphrased to read “…..that because you did it to the least of these our people; you did it also unto all of us”.
“He that hath ears to hear…….Let them hear”. Lonta!!