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Ebola doctor warns

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The doctor heading a 96-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in Virginia, Jonathan Hartt has warned here that “dehydration could kill Ebola patients” rather than the virus itself, appealing for supplements like juices and biscuits to be added to their meals.

Dr. Hartt, who says he had been working at ELWA-2 ETU before starting operations at the OAU Ebola center on 24th  November, told President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that temperatures under the tents were hot, and patients must be “rehydrated constantly and adequately to keep them surviving.”

“We receive three square meals for the patients- that have been good; but we need some supplements like biscuits and juice. As you can see the atmosphere the temperature is hot under the tent, so we need to make sure that our patients are rehydrated constantly and adequately to keep them surviving, or else, they won’t survive. I mean they will die from dehydration but not Ebola,” he warned.

He additionally appealed to President Sirleaf during her visit there on Wednesday, November 26, for constant supply of clothes to be made to the ETU so as to enable health workers to constantly change the patients because constant vomiting which may result from diarrhea demands more clothing.

“For the patients, they do not have clothing’s, they may be having diarrhea and vomiting; they need constant supply of clothes to be able to change their clothes constantly,” Dr. Hartt said.  He however said “some basic needs [were] available” for the patients, citing beds and mattresses with 20 patients in ETU as at Wednesday since operations began.

As for health workers’ needs, Dr. Hartt said he had no fear for salary delay and expressed confidence that government would handle the issue of pay for his workers just as it was when he worked at ELWA-2.

But he, however, told President Sirleaf that they have problem with logistics and transportation, complaining that a single vehicle is assigned to be used for 45 daily staff transportation, utility and to pursue administrative purposes as far as in Monrovia.  He additionally said they have not received [additional] ambulance yet, since the one given them earlier got stocked in sand on two occasions “because it’s very low.”

And I asked the minister to change it to give us a higher one. Since then we’ve been off and on; we have not received it yet,” he said.  In response, President Sirleaf said “we’ll go back and make a report to the ministry to see those things that are lacking how they can respond to them… We will make sure that we tell them that you have confidence in them, and they will carry it on the same way.”

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