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Relatives of patients in Nigeria call for int’l help

Reporter: Deji Badmus 丨 CCTV.com

08-18-2014 11:56 BJT

Full coverage: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Relatives of people who have tested positive for the Ebola virus in the Nigerian city of Lagos say they want international assistance to help their loved ones battle the disease. They say the country’s health infrastructure can’t cope.

Since health officials disclosed that about eight persons infected with the Ebola virus are isolated and been treated in this special health facility, not much has been heard about them or the quality of care they may be getting.

But their relatives are now beginning to speak up saying they are satisfied with the quality of treatment they are getting and the facilities available at the isolation centre.

"For us here, we feel that the government is overwhelmed by this problem, which is why we have no option but to cry to the international community to come our aide and assistance," Medical doctor Ladi Okuboyejo said.

Among the help they say their infected relatives need; foreign experts in Ebola cases and the experimental drug, Zmapp.

"Let them have basic treatment. Let it not be as if we just stood by and abandoned them and them they will die one by one. Let people treat them, they are human beings," relative of patient Helen Boyo-Ekwueme said.

Their complaints prompted this direct response from authorities in Lagos state.

"we have followed the guidance of the CDC and others partners and established the following; 40 bed complex with male and female wards for confirmed cases. 8-bed isolation ward upgraded to hold suspected cases backed up by two emergency tents to hold additional 24 suspected cases. Dedicated borehole. Dedicated 60KVA generator backed by 250KVA unit for the entire complex," Lagos States Health Commissioner Dr. Jide Idris said.

The government however admits that it is facing a struggle in getting more medical workers to volunteer.

"We are gaining capacity everyday. It’s not something we expected, it’s not something we planned for and therefore getting people who are sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled but who are health workers to go in there has been quite a challenge. It’s a matter of monumental courage for those who have signed up and we commend their courage. But there is a personnel capacity issue," Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola said.

The government also says even when more volunteers sign up to help, it would still need time to train them and that this training takes between five and seven days before they are deployed.

So far, journalists have not been allowed access to the isolation and treatment center. Health officials maintain that some of the patients are beginning to show signs of improvement.

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