By Hassan Bruz
Northern Bureau Chief
It was a hell get loose situation at the Buya’s Hotel where a total of 24 Health Workers from the Government Hospital in Port Loko were quarantined as COVID 19 Suspects. The threshold of the Hotel and its surroundings were besieged by Military and Police personnel fully determined to fly into action with whatever instructions dished to them. The defiant and deafening voices from the Quarantined Home was sufficient for any levelheaded person to realize that the situation was far beyond the usual control of either the Psychosocial or Surveillance Pillars at the COVID – 19 Port Loko District Command Centre. Even the District Medical Officer – Dr. Mamoud Idriss Kamara or the Medical Superintendent at the Government Hospital in Port Loko – Dr. Sana, could not provide the required intervention for calming the situation. Not even the newly deployed COVID – 19 District Coordinator – Mr. Moses Eric Kamara could influence the required peace and calm. It was highly likely that lives would have been sacrificed if the Quarantined Persons were not allowed to have their way. In simple terms, it means the Inmates were allowed to remain intact with none of their colleagues taken away from the Home as was initially planned.
This whole thing cannot be unconnected with what is general believed to be the incorrect way of doing things. It is in such ways the elements of human right violations and the lack of confidentiality were surfaced. It further portrays the dangers of having wrong people in positions of trust and Servants that are not committed to their assigned responsibilities or being so much carried by their lust for money. It can as well be attributed to narrow mindedness on the side of Service Givers. The fact remains that these ugly developments have the potential to compel people to be suspicious that there is a kind of foul play in the process of either screening or declaring confirmed COVID – 19 Cases in the Country. This is even that take and position of the 24 People currently at the Buya’s Quarantine Home who have vehemently challenged what is supposed to be the ‘results of their Specimens’.
We are referring to the 24 Nurses and Health Workers including 14 Women and 2 Community Health Officers that were on duty at the Male Ward of the Government Hospital in Port Loko. They were ushered to the Quarantined Home early two weeks ago following the case of a Male Police Officer that was admitted at the Hospital who was later confirmed to be Corona Positive. The Police Officer in question first came to the Hospital with symptoms that were not respiratory related. He was admitted at the Male Ward and treated for Malaria. He felt better and was eventually discharged. His second admission to the Hospital was done few days later when he returned with respiratory symptoms which made him to be isolated. His Samples were obtained to test for Corona virus. The result came out positive and was evacuated to COVID – 19 Treatment Center in Lungi. It was then agreed after a meeting at the Command Center in Port Loko that all the Staff and Health Workers who had contact with this Police Officer be quarantined at the Buya’s Hotel. It was also agreed that the Patients at the Male Ward be evacuated to another Ward to have the whole Ward disinfected and temporarily closed. However another Ward has since been identified for admitting the conditions of Male Patients at the Port Loko Government Hospital.
Mr. Gaima is one of the Quarantined Community Health Officers at the Buya’s Hotel in Port Loko. He said they were ushered into the Quarantined Home from the Port Loko Government Hospital and they were all doing well with regards their health conditions. He said the only problem they had was that they were not consented on the type of food to be prepared for them in addition to the fact that their temperature were not obtained on daily basis. He told the Sierra Leone News Agency in a mobile phone interview that their first test samples were taken last Tuesday and were all very happy when there was no confirmed Corona Case from Port Loko District the following day. Mr. Gaima said they were even expecting the second Sample Test when all of a sudden; rumors started filtering into their Hotel that 4 of their Inmates have been proven to be Corona virus positive. The quarantined Community Health Officer went further to explain how it is the normal procedure for temperature tests to be obtained 3 times a day while the Sample Tests are supposed to be done twice before a case is considered to be either positive or negative.
This was confirmed by quite a good number of Inmates who were able to reach out at me through their mobile phones. Many wondered why there was a delay in releasing their Sample Test Results. They were equally baffled when their Home was besieged by Military and Police Personnel with the intention to evacuate 4 of their colleagues to a treatment center as COVID- 19 Positive Cases. They were very much baffled in realizing that the Authorities could arrive at such a decision without conducting a second sample test on them. Sources outside the Buya’s Hotel and closed to the Port Loko Government Hospital claimed that the First Sample Tests were not conveyed to Freetown until about 2 days later. It is gathered that ‘NEMS’- the body which is often charged with the responsibility of conveying Samples to the Laboratory was a bit reluctant with the excuse that it has to be directed by its leadership in Freetown.
Meanwhile the Port Loko District Coordinator for COVID -19, Mr. Moses Erick Kamara has allayed the fears of all and sundry. He said the situation has since been put under control and there is no need for a fuss.
Below is the Photo of the Port Loko District Medical Officer – Dr. Mamoud Idriss Kamara