Friday, October 31, 2014

Another African Tyrant Pushed Out: Campaore Finally Resigns

Blaise Campaore
After two major days of violent protests, Burkina Faso's 27 year dictator Blaise Campaore who was notorious for sponsoring rebel movements in neighboring countries has been pushed to resign. Campaore who has ruled Burkina Faso since 1987 when Capt. Thomas Sankara was overthrown in a bloody coup, has had a largely uncontested challenge to his leadership since the late 80s by taking absolute control of all national institutions, including the police and the military.

Campaore's political demise came from moves to change the country's constitution allowing himself to rule for another five year term. The people of Burkina Faso, tired of his dictatorship, had rallied behind the opposition's call to protest against the proposed changes. Yesterday October 30, 2014, protesters had set the country's parliament ablaze and also torched the houses of many parliamentarians before heading for the President's abode where they were repelled by troops loyal to him.
On the Campaign Trail

Campaore, feeling the heat, had hastily gone on TV and promised to give up power in a year, allowing the military chief to impose a state of emergency. His decision to however cling on for another year was roundly condemned by the opposition who called again today for another round of protests. Already members of the military had started to side with the protesters as of yesterday.

It seems that Blaise Campaore finally came to his senses this afternoon and decided that it was better to leave when he still had some aces. Addressing the crowd of protesters who were milling outside the military headquarters, an army colonel Boureima Farta had earlier told the crowd that " as of today, Campaore is no longer in power." The crowd had erupted in widespread jubilation at the end of a greedy and repressive tyranny.
Campaore with Guinea's Moussa
Dadis Camara

Just Yesterday, the military had dissolved parliament but Campaore had rejected all calls to resign, pledging to stay in power till 2015. He had also pledged to hold an unconditional dialogue with all the country's opposition parties. The countries opposition were adamant in their refusal of any delaying tactics and were firm in their rejection of his offer of a dialogue. All they wanted was to see him gone. 

Unfortunately for Campaore, the writing had already been on the wall, but he was too power hungry to see it. The tyrant's time was up. Later today he had released a statement saying that he had vacated the Presidency and advocated for elections to be held in 90 day. 
New Head of State Gen Honore
Troare

In a sinister development, the head of the country's military Gen Honore Traore has stepped into the power vacancy and announced that he would take over as Head of State. How the opposition would react to a military takeover would be a subject of much conjecture. The African Union is now adamant in their refusal to recognize military coupists. All we can pray for is for peace to return to this brother West African country. Across the continent, another tyrant falls and we hope that lessons will continue to be learned by leaders in that area of the world.

My Friday Listening

Blaise Campaore's Constitutional Tactics and Lessons for Sierra Leone

Captain Thomas Sankara
In 1987, Blaise Campaore, the current President of Burkina Faso came to power in what is now widely regarded as one of the most unpopular military coups in the history of Africa. On the fateful day of October 15 1987, the young Pan-Africanist revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso, Capt. Thomas Sankara, who had for four years ruled the country once called Upper Volta, which he had renamed Burkina Faso, was executed in mysterious circumstances. His childhood friend and co-revolutionary Blaise Campaore succeeded him in what many now describe as one of the most heinous political betrayals to ever occur on the African continent. Thomas Sankara was a revolutionary, a theorist, a poet and a soldier.
Campaore and Sankara

The young Sankara in those days was like a bright lamp in a dark room. An African leader in the 80s who believed that true African development would not come from a reliance on loans and handouts from institutions like the IMF or the World Bank, but by the African people growing more self reliant and taking control of their own destiny. In one of his most famous quotes, Thomas Sankara told the people of his country that, "he who feeds you, controls you." Throughout his short life and rule, he vigorously pursued policies of self reliance and a lifestyle of simplicity.

In an era when African leaders were only too happy to dance to the tune of the Western powers and post colonialists, Sankara was calling for Africa's inclusion in decision making at the top hierarchy of major international organizations like the United Nations. Advocating for such inclusion Sankara said, "Let there be an end to the arrogance of the big powers who miss no opportunity to put the rights of the people in question. Africa's absence from the club of those who have the right to veto is unjust and should be ended."

No where was Sankara more ahead of his time than in the pursuit of women's rights. In a continent characterized by male dominance in almost every aspect of public life, Sankara believed that true African progress could not be achieved in the absence of women taking their rightful roles among their male counterparts. To put this in context, here was a young man in West Africa advocating gender equity in an era when it was still believed that the role of the woman was in the kitchen. In some areas of West Africa today, women are still not allowed to to eat at the same table as men let alone become public leaders. In advocating for gender equity in those day Sankara told his compatriots, " Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half their people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women's silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt." Captain Sankara can be described as Africa's first true male feminist.

Campaore Today
Unfortunately, Like Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela and Murtala Mohamed before him, the world powers in those days were not interested in African leaders who posed a threat to their neocolonial theoretical constructs of capitalism and socialism. Sankara was seen as a danger to established interests and portrayed as an unstable mad man. Sankara once replied that for him to bring about the changes to his society that he envisioned, some degree of madness was needed.

I was still in secondary school in my hometown of Segbwema when Capt. Thomas Sankara was executed. In those days we used to listen religiously to Focus on Africa on BBC as it was the only major source of African news. I can still feel the sadness that overwhelmed us in school the day that we heard that our young hero had died. 

Sankara had decided to live by his teachings. He had taken a salary of only $450.00 and he had he and his ministers driving around Ouagadougou in cheap Renault cars. Unfortunately, some of his compatriots did not buy into his revolutionary fervor and saw him as an unrealistic tyrant who wanted to diminish their lifestyle. They therefore worked to get rid of him and replace him with his best friend Blaise Campaore.

From 1987 to the present day, Blaise Campaore has clung on to power like a canoe man clings to his paddle. When the wave of multiparty politics hit the African continent he took off his military fatigues and became a civilian president. He has consistently manipulated elections in his favor and treated the opposition like flies on the wall. In one of the poorest countries in the world, Campaore supports his lifestyle by engaging in the trade of arms to rebel factions and is even rumored to be involved in the drug trade. He lavishes the military with gifts and ensures loyalty by appointing only his most trusted lieutenant to top positions. He was the main arms trader to rebels in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In the late 80s, when world financial institutions started to peg international aid to democratic reforms, many leaders in cash strapped African countries rushed to draw up constitutions that imposed term limits on their leadership. This was seen as a move meant to portray that they were serious about democracy and to silence their critics who said that these old leaders just wanted to cling on to power forever.

Unfortunately for people like Campaore, time does not stand still. Campaore presided over the crafting of a constitution that gave him a two consecutive 5 year term limit. At the time, ten years would have seemed to be too far away to really care. In the mind, ten years is a long time.
Laurent Gbagbo

In Africa, time moves slowly, but it moves. Even though it took another ten years, Campaore's two terms are up. Instead of getting ready to retire what does he do? He has convinced his parliament of close colleagues to start working on changes to the country's constitution that would allow him to run for another term. However, it seems as if the people of Burkina Faso have finally had enough of this tyrant who was instrumental in starting the civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Even the examples of Ghadaffi his ex-comrade, Lauren Gbagbo his next door neighbor and Charles Taylor his one time ally were not enough to convince this power hungry dimwit that sometimes retirement is an attractive option.

The people of Burkina Faso have decided that they have finally had enough.  To show just how serious they were, they set fire yesterday to the country's parliament were lawmakers were gathered to debate extending Campaore's rule. They also reportedly set fire to the houses of some parliamentarians. The military which is full of Campaore's allies have imposed a state of emergency and dissolved parliament, but Campaore still announced that he would be in charge of a one year transitional government with promises that he would not seek reelection. Unfortunately many do not believe him and this morning protestors have once again descended on the streets of the capital Ouagadougou.
Two Terms Kabbah
No Drama

Many political watchers in Sierra Leone will be observing developments in Burkina Faso with very keen interest. Before the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, there were moves being made clandestinely by country's  President Ernest Bai Koroma to change the country's constitution and allow himself unlimited rule. In a bid to promote the concept, the President's minions had been on radio waves and started to already  print t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "After U nar U." Other Sierra Leoneans who were angry at moves by the President to once again introduce political instability in a country that has been through such a terrible civil war started printing counter t-shirts with the label "After Gbagbo nar U," in reference to the Ivorian leader who made an identical move and is now languishing in The Hague awaiting trial for crimes against humanity. Those printing the counter t-shirts were promptly arrested and detained for threatening public safety while those wearing t-shirts calling for the President to continue in defiance of the constitution were allowed to parade the streets of the country unchallenged.
Commander Ernest Bai Koroma
The World's Best Leader

As Sierra Leoneans continue to watch the unfolding turmoil in Burkina Faso, many are wondering if a page in the future history of their country is being written. The country's President is starting to look like a man whose love for power seems to grow day by day, as he continues to surround himself with people who only say what he wants to hear. Sierra Leoneans who believe that any change to the constitution that will allow the President another term, will start the reintroduction of the one party rule that damaged the country will also be watching and planning accordingly. Many are watching the transformation of a smiley face congenial leader into a smiley faced tin can despot.
The Former World's Best Leader

After Ebola the future security of Sierra Leone will depend on the next move by President Ernest Koroma and his stable of political allies. We hope he will learn from the many examples unfolding in his neighborhood and do what is right for the country. He has many capable young people in the APC party who can succeed him. Let him give them a chance.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keeping Up the Daily Ebola Challenge

The Fight Against Ebola Getting
Big Time Boost 
Before the Ebola virus crossed the Atlantic, many health experts and some of us were worried that it would just be a brief cable news item that would occupy the world's attention span until the next big event. Our cash strapped and unprepared West African governments would then be left to deal with the deadly crisis with the help of a few volunteer organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Samaritan's Purse and some volunteer religious medical missions. We were afraid that ISIS or Boko Haram would do something crazy and the world would forget about Ebola.
Raising Awareness in
Canada 

Many of us have in various ways tried to call the world's attention to this deadly plague, this Ebola virus. However, with the first reported case in America and subsequent infection of two unfortunate nurses, and a situation that is now on the verge of getting out of control in our poorly equipped countries, the world is now responding in very positive ways.

Just the past week we learnt of British plans to deploy over 750 emergency military medical personnel to build about 5 Ebola centers in Sierra Leone with a capacity of approximately 700 beds. These centers would provide facilities to treat approximately 8000 cases in 6 months if the number of patients continue to grow at the current rate. Yesterday, we heard that the British were now going to deploy about 3000 troops to support a medical response in Sierra Leone.  If that is true, it would rival America's 3000 troops Ebola mission to Liberia. These resources, combined with the effort of the Cubans, the Chinese and local health officials will hopefully put a brake on the rapid spread of the disease around our home countries.

The last few weeks, reports from Sierra Leone have painted a grim picture of hopelessness. Families with Ebola patients were being turned away from treatment facilities because of the lack of beds. Suspected Ebola corpses were lying for days on the streets before they were picked up by burial teams. Families reporting suspected cases or corpses in their homes were met with slow response from medical teams, if they came at all. All these incidents had a very great likelihood of contributing to the increased proliferation of the disease in already hard hit areas. In Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone, it was particularly disheartening to see groups of youths in various areas blocking their neighborhoods to vehicular traffic until corpses lying in the streets were cleared. The fear was palpable, the chaos was almost predictable

"This is truly hell on earth," was the remark made by a colleague of mine when he watched a painful CNN report on the chaos that Ebola had created in Liberia. That particular scene could have been Sierra Leone, as similar situations occur on an hourly basis all around the two sister countries. Even Koinadugu, the last district that had remained free of Ebola in Sierra Leone has now reported some cases of infection. Koinadugu had even been featured in an American Newspaper as being free of Ebola largely due to the effort of one indigene of the district, a Momoh Konte. Some local people on the ground have however dismissed his claims as bogus and mere attention seeking.
Day 5 of Ebola Challenge 

In a desire to use social media to keep raising awareness of the virus and its implications, I started a daily 4 mile Ebola challenge to raise awareness and ask for assistance.

The four mile Ebola challenge is simply a desire to run four miles everyday until Ebola is eradicated from Sierra Leone and hopefully, from Liberia and Guinea too. Yesterday Sunday was day five of the challenge and I ran 6.8 miles. On Saturday the Ebola challenge got a big boost when the Member of Parliament for Constituency 7 in the Kailuhun district, Sierra Leone, Hon. Abu Jajua, also did a 5 mile run which he dedicated to the fight against Ebola. MP Jajua is one of the members of Parliament in Sierra Leone who took the Ebola virus disease very seriously even before it reached his constituency. Due to extensive education and infection control measures, there has been no reported case of Ebola in MP Jajua's constituency for close to two months. Overall the constituency has had very few cases of Ebola.
Hon Abu Jajua after
5 Mile Run 

In order for everyone to get on board with raising awareness, we are calling on Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and everywhere to join the Ebola run. It does not have to be four miles. It can be a mile or two or even 500 meters. All we are appealing for is for people to do a challenge to help raise awareness and seek a cure for Ebola. Please post your challenge on social media for the whole world to know that we as Sierra Leoneans are asking them to help our people and put a stop to this devastating disease.
When people turn on the TV and think what they see as hell on earth, what we see is trouble in our own little paradise. Sierra Leone is our home. It was the country that nurtured us and made us who we are. All those young health care workers dying needlessly from this plague are our brothers, sisters, cousins and friends. We did not wish Ebola on our countries. This is not a diseases you will wish on even your worst enemy. However, Ebola in West Africa is now a reality and all we can do is raise awareness and call on others to help.

We are particularly grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Zuckerberg of Facebook for contributing 25 million towards the fight against Ebola. We hope this will motivate other individuals to do more to help. In our own little ways as West African we have being helping through organizations and as individuals to help fight this plague. We have gathered PPEs and sent small monies back home. Hopefully this disease would soon be a sad chapter in a history book on our shelves. As at now, all we can do is thank those who are on the ground helping and implore those who have the capacity to join the fight now.

Ebola is here and no one is immune. Join the fight, help save lives.


Nigerian Doctor Recalls Her Grim Experience with Ebola: By Dr. Ida Igonoh

Dr Ada Igonoh
Reproduced from The Cable

On the night of Sunday July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer was wheeled into the Emergency Room at First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, with complaints of fever and body weakness. The male doctor on call admitted him as a case of malaria and took a full history. Knowing that Mr Sawyer had recently arrived from Liberia, the doctor asked if he had been in contact with an Ebola patient in the last couple of weeks, and Mr. Sawyer denied any such contact. He also denied attending any funeral ceremony recently.
Blood samples were taken for full blood count, malaria parasites, liver function test and other baseline investigations. He was admitted into a private room and started on anti-malarial drugs and analgesics. That night, the full blood count result came back as normal and not indicative of infection.
The following day however, his condition worsened. He barely ate any of his meals. His liver function test result showed his liver enzymes were markedly elevated. We then took samples for HIV and hepatitis screening.
At about 5.00pm, he requested to see a doctor. I was the doctor on call that night so I went in to see him. He was lying in bed with his intravenous (I.V.) fluid bag removed from its metal stand and placed beside him. He complained that he had stooled about five times that evening and that he wanted to use the bathroom again. I picked up the I.V. bag from his bed and hung it back on the stand. I told him I would inform a nurse to come and disconnect the I.V. so he could conveniently go to the bathroom. I walked out of his room and went straight to the nurses’ station where I told the nurse on duty to disconnect his I.V. I then informed my Consultant, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, about the patient’s condition and she asked that he be placed on some medications.
The following day, the results for HIV and hepatitis screening came out negative. As we were preparing for the early-morning ward rounds, I was approached by an ECOWAS official who informed me that Patrick Sawyer had to catch an 11 o’clock flight to Calabar for a retreat that morning. He wanted to know if it would be possible. I told him it wasn’t, as he was acutely ill. Dr. Adadevoh also told him the patient could certainly not leave the hospital in his condition. She then instructed me to write very boldly on his chart that on no account should Patrick Sawyer be allowed out of the hospital premises without the permission of Dr. Ohiaeri, our chief medical consultant. All nurses and doctors were duly informed.
During our early-morning ward round with Dr. Adadevoh, we concluded that this was not malaria and that the patient needed to be screened for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). She immediately started calling laboratories to find out where the test could be carried out. She was eventually referred to Professor Omilabu of the LUTH Virology Reference Lab in Idi-Araba, whom she called immediately. Prof. Omilabu told her to send blood and urine samples to LUTH straight away. She tried to reach the lagos state commissioner for health but was unable to contact him at the time. She also put calls across to officials of the federal ministry of health and national centre for disease control.
Dr. Adadevoh at this time was in a pensive mood. Patrick Sawyer was now a suspected case of Ebola, perhaps the first in the country. He was quarantined, and strict barrier nursing was applied with all the precautionary measures we could muster. Dr. Adadevoh went online, downloaded information on Ebola and printed copies, which were distributed to the nurses, doctors and ward maids. Blood and urine samples were sent to LUTH that morning. Protective gear, gloves, shoe covers and facemasks were provided for the staff. A wooden barricade was placed at the entrance of the door to keep visitors and unauthorised personnel away from the patient.
Despite the medications prescribed earlier, the vomiting and diarrhoea persisted. The fever escalated from 38c to 40c.
On the morning of Wednesday July 23, the tests carried out at LUTH showed a signal for Ebola. Samples were then sent to Dakar, Senegal for a confirmatory test. Dr. Adadevoh went for several meetings with the Lagos state ministry of health. Thereafter, officials from Lagos state came to inspect the hospital and the protective measures we had put in place.
The following day, Thursday July 24, I was again on call. At about 10.00pm, Mr. Sawyer requested to see me. I went into the newly-created dressing room, donned my protective gear and went in to see him. He had not been cooperating with the nurses and had refused any additional treatment. He sounded confused and said he received a call from Liberia asking for a detailed medical report to be sent to them. He also said he had to travel back to Liberia on a 5.00am flight the following morning and that he didn’t want to miss his flight. I told him that I would inform Dr. Adadevoh.
As I was leaving the room, I met Dr. Adadevoh dressed in her protective gear along with a nurse and another doctor. They went into his room to have a discussion with him and as I heard later to reset his I.V. line, which he had deliberately removed after my visit to his room.
At 6:30am, Friday July 25, I got a call from the nurse that Patrick Sawyer was completely unresponsive. Again I put on the protective gear and headed to his room. I found him slumped in the bathroom. I examined him and observed that there was no respiratory movement. I felt for his pulse; it was absent. We had lost him. It was I who certified Patrick Sawyer dead. I informed Dr. Adadevoh immediately and she instructed that no one was to be allowed to go into his room for any reason at all. Later that day, officials from W.H.O came and took his body away. The test in Dakar later came out positive for Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. We now had the first official case of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria.
It was a sobering day. We all began to go over all that happened in the last few days, wondering just how much physical contact we had individually made with Patrick Sawyer. Every patient on admission was discharged that day and decontamination began in the hospital. We were now managing a crisis situation. The next day, Saturday July 26, all staff of First Consultants attended a meeting with Prof. Nasidi of the national centre for disease control, Prof Omilabu of LUTH Virology Reference Lab, and some officials of W.H.O. They congratulated us on the actions we had taken and enlightened us further about the Ebola Virus Disease. They said we were going to be grouped into high-risk and low-risk categories based on our individual level of exposure to Patrick Sawyer, the “index” case. Each person would receive a temperature chart and a thermometer to record temperatures in the morning and night for the next 21 days. We were all officially under surveillance. We were asked to report to them at the first sign of a fever for further blood tests to be done. We were reassured that we would all be given adequate care. The anxiety in the air was palpable.
The frenetic pace of life in Lagos, coupled with the demanding nature of my job as a doctor, means that I occasionally need a change of environment. As such, one week before Patrick Sawyer died, I had gone to my parents’ home for a retreat. I was still staying with them when I received my temperature chart and thermometer on Tuesday July 29. I could not contain my anxiety. People were talking Ebola everywhere – on television, online, everywhere.
I soon started experiencing joint and muscle aches and a sore throat, which I quickly attributed to stress and anxiety. I decided to take malaria tablets. I also started taking antibiotics for the sore throat. The first couple of temperature readings were normal. Every day, I would attempt to recall the period Patrick Sawyer was on admission – just how much direct and indirect contact did I have with him? I reassured myself that my contact with him was quite minimal. I completed the anti-malarials but the aches and pains persisted. I had loss of appetite and felt very tired.
On Friday August 1, my temperature read a high 38.7c. As I type this, I recall the anxiety I felt that morning. I could not believe what I saw on the thermometer. I ran to my mother’s room and told her. I did not go to work that day. I cautiously started using a separate set of utensils and cups from the ones my family members were using.
On Saturday August 2, the fever worsened. It was now at 39c and would not be reduced by taking paracetamol. This was now my second day of fever. I couldn’t eat. The sore throat was getting worse. That was when I called the helpline and an ambulance was sent with W.H.O doctors who came and took a sample of my blood. Later that day, I started stooling and vomiting. I stayed away from my family. I started washing my plates and spoons myself. My parents, meanwhile, were convinced that I could not have Ebola.
The following day, Sunday August 3, I got a call from one of the doctors who came to take my sample the day before. He told me that the sample which was they had taken was not confirmatory, and that they needed another sample. He did not sound very coherent and I became worried. They came with the ambulance that afternoon and told me that I had to go with them to Yaba. I was confused. Couldn’t the second sample be taken in the ambulance like the previous one? He said a better-qualified person at the Yaba centre would take the sample. I asked if they would bring me back. He said “yes”.
Even with the symptoms, I did not believe I had Ebola. After all, my contact with Sawyer was minimal. I only touched his I.V. fluid bag just that once without gloves. The only time I actually touched him was when I checked his pulse and confirmed him dead, and I wore double gloves and felt adequately protected.
I told my parents I had to go with the officials to Yaba and that I would be back that evening. I wore a white top and a pair of jeans, and I put my iPad and phones in my bag.
A man opened the ambulance door for me and moved away from me rather swiftly. Strange behaviour, I thought. They were friendly with me the day before, but that day, not so. No pleasantries, no smiles. I looked up and saw my mother watching through her bedroom window.
We soon got to Yaba. I really had no clue where I was. I knew it was a hospital. I was left alone in the back of the ambulance for over four hours. My mind was in a whirl. I didn’t know what to think. I was offered food to eat but I could barely eat the rice.
The ambulance door opened and a Caucasian gentleman approached me but kept a little distance. He said to me, “I have to inform you that your blood tested positive for Ebola. I am sorry.” I had no reaction. I think I must have been in shock. He then told me to open my mouth and he looked at my tongue. He said it was the typical Ebola tongue. I took out my mirror from my bag and took a look and I was shocked at what I saw. My whole tongue had a white coating, looked furry and had a long, deep ridge right in the middle. I then started to look at my whole body, searching for Ebola rashes and other signs as we had been recently instructed. I called my mother immediately and said, “Mummy, they said I have Ebola, but don’t worry, I will survive it. Please, go and lock my room now; don’t let anyone inside and don’t touch anything.” She was silent. I cut the line.
I was taken to the female ward. I was shocked at the environment. It looked like an abandoned building. I suspected it had not been in use for quite a while. As I walked in, I immediately recognised one of the ward maids from our hospital. She always had a smile for me but not this time. She was ill and she looked it. She had been stooling a lot too. I soon settled into my corner and looked around the room. It smelled of faeces and vomit. It also had a characteristic Ebola smell to which I became accustomed. Dinner was served – rice and stew. The pepper stung my mouth and tongue. I dropped the spoon. No dinner that night.
Dr. David, the Caucasian man who had met me at the ambulance on my arrival, came in wearing his full protective ‘hazmat’ suit and goggles. It was fascinating seeing one live. I had only seen them online. He brought bottles of water and ORS, the oral fluid therapy which he dropped by my bedside. He told me that 90 per cent of the treatment depended on me. He said I had to drink at least 4.5 litres of ORS daily to replace fluids lost in stooling and vomiting. I told him I had stooled three times earlier and taken Imodium tablets to stop the stooling. He said it was not advisable, as the virus would replicate the more inside of me. It was better, he said, to let it out. He said good night and left.
My parents called. My uncle called. My husband called crying. He could not believe the news. My parents had informed him, as I didn’t even know how to break the news to him.
As I lay on my bed in that isolation ward, strangely, I did not fear for my life. I was confident that I would leave that ward some day. There was an inner sense of calm. I did not for a second think I would be consumed by the disease. That evening, the symptoms fully kicked in. I was stooling almost every two hours. The toilets did not flush so I had to fetch water in a bucket from the bathroom each time I used the toilet. I then placed another bucket beneath my bed for the vomiting. On occasion I would run to the toilet with a bottle of ORS, so that as I was stooling, I was drinking.
The next day Monday August 4, I began to notice red rashes on my skin particularly on my arms. I had developed sores all over my mouth. My head was pounding so badly. The sore throat was so severe I could not eat. I could only drink the ORS. I took paracetamol for the pain. The ward maid across from me wasn’t doing so well. She had stopped speaking. I couldn’t even brush my teeth; the sores in my mouth were so bad. This was a battle for my life but I was determined I would not die.
Every morning, I began the day with reading and meditating on Psalm 91. The sanitary condition in the ward left much to be desired. The whole Ebola thing had caught everyone by surprise. Lagos state ministry of health was doing its best to contain the situation but competent hands were few. The sheets were not changed for days. The floor was stained with greenish vomitus and excrement.
Dr. David would come in once or twice a day and help clean up the ward after chatting with us. He was the only doctor who attended to us. There was no one else at that time. The matrons would leave our food outside the door; we had to go get the food ourselves. They hardly entered in the initial days. Everyone was being careful. This was all so new. I could understand; was this not how we ourselves had contracted the disease? Mosquitoes were our roommates until they brought us mosquito nets.
Later that evening, Dr. David brought another lady into the ward. I recognized her immediately as Justina Ejelonu, a nurse who had started working at First Consultants on July 21, a day after Patrick Saywer was admitted. She was on duty on the day Patrick reported that he was stooling. While she was attending to him that night, he had yanked off his drip, letting his blood flow almost like a tap onto her hands. Justina was pregnant and was brought into our ward bleeding from a suspected miscarriage. She had been told she was there only on observation. The news that she had contracted Ebola was broken to her the following day after results of her blood test came out positive. Justina was devastated and wept profusely – she had contracted Ebola on her first day at work.
My husband started visiting but was not allowed to come close to me. He could only see me from a window at a distance. He visited so many times. It was he who brought me a change of clothes and toiletries and other things I needed because I had not even packed a bag. I was grateful I was not with him at home when I fell ill or he would most certainly have contracted the disease. My retreat at my parents’ home turned out to be the instrumentality God used to shield and save him.
I drank the ORS fluid like my life depended on it. Then I got a call from my pastor. He had been informed about my predicament. He called me every single day – morning and night – and would pray with me over the phone. He later sent me a CD player, CDs of messages on faith and healing, and Holy Communion packs through my husband. My pastor, who also happens to be a medical doctor, encouraged me to monitor how many times I had stooled and vomited each day and how many bottles of ORS I had consumed. We would then discuss the disease and pray together. He asked me to do my research on Ebola since I had my iPad with me and told me that he was also doing his study. He wanted us to use all relevant information on Ebola to our advantage. So I researched and found out all I could about the strange disease that has been in existence for 38 years. My research, my faith, my positive view of life, the extended times of prayer, study and listening to encouraging messages boosted my belief that I would survive the Ebola scourge.
There are five strains of the virus and the deadliest of them is the Zaire strain, which was what I had. But that did not matter. I believed I would overcome even the deadliest of strains. Infected patients who succumb to the disease usually die between 6 to 16 days after the onset of the disease from multiple organ failure and shock caused by dehydration. I was counting the days and keeping myself well hydrated. I didn’t intend to die in that ward.
My research gave me ammunition. I read that as soon as the virus gets into the body, it begins to replicate really fast. It enters the blood cells, destroys them and uses those same blood cells to aggressively invade other organs where they further multiply. Ideally, the body’s immune system should immediately mount up a response by producing antibodies to fight the virus. If the person is strong enough, and that strength is sustained long enough for the immune system to kill off the viruses, the patient is likely to survive. If the virus replicates faster than the antibodies can handle, however, further damage is done to the organs. Ebola can be likened to a multi-level, multi-organ attack but I had no intention of letting the deadly virus destroy my system. I drank more ORS. I remember saying to myself repeatedly, “I am a survivor; I am a survivor.”
I also found out that a patient with Ebola cannot be re-infected and they cannot relapse into the disease, as there is some immunity conferred on survivors. My pastor and I would discuss these findings, interpret them as it related to my situation, and pray together. I looked forward to his calls. They were times of encouragement and strengthening. I continued to meditate on the Word of God. It was my daily bread.
Shortly after Justina came into the ward, the ward maid, Mrs Ukoh passed on. The disease had gotten into her central nervous system. We stared at her lifeless body in shock. It was a whole 12 hours before officials of W.H.O came and took her body away. The ward had become the house of death. The whole area surrounding her bed was disinfected with bleach. Her mattress was taken and burned.
To contain the frequent diarrhoea, I had started wearing adult diapers, as running to the toilet was no longer convenient for me. The indignity was quite overwhelming, but I did not have a choice. My faith was being severely tested. The situation was desperate enough to break anyone psychologically. Dr. Ohiaeri also called us day and night, enquiring about our health and the progress we were making. He sent provisions, extra drugs, vitamins, Lucozade, towels, tissue paper – everything we needed to be more comfortable in that dark hole we found ourselves. Some of my male colleagues had also been admitted to the male ward two rooms away, but there was no interaction with them.
We were saddened by the news that Jato, the ECOWAS protocol officer to Patrick Sawyer who had also tested positive, had passed on days after he was admitted.
Two more females joined us in the ward – a nurse from our hospital and a patient from another hospital. The mood in the ward was solemn. There were times we would be awakened by the sudden, loud cry from one of the women. It was either from fear, pain mixed with the distress or just the sheer oppression of our isolation.
I kept encouraging myself. This could not be the end for me. Five days after I was admitted, the vomiting stopped. A day after that, the diarrhoea ceased. I was overwhelmed with joy. It happened at a time I thought I could no longer stand the ORS. Drinking that fluid had stretched my endurance greatly.
I knew countless numbers of people were praying for me. Prayer meetings were being held on my behalf. My family was praying day and night. Text messages of prayers flooded my phones from family members and friends. I was encouraged to press on. With the encouragement I was receiving, I began to encourage the others in the ward. We decided to speak life and focus on the positive. I then graduated from drinking only the ORS fluid to eating only bananas, to drinking pap and then bland foods. Just when I thought I had the victory, I suddenly developed a severe fever. The initial fever had subsided four days after I was admitted, and then suddenly it showed up again. I thought it was the Ebola. I enquired from Dr. David who said fever was sometimes the last thing to go, but he expressed surprise that it had stopped only to come back on again. I was perplexed.
I discussed it with my pastor who said it could be a separate pathology and possibly a symptom of malaria. He promised he would research if indeed this was Ebola or something else. That night as I stared at the dirty ceiling, I felt a strong impression that the new fever I had developed was not as a result of Ebola but malaria. I was relieved. The following morning, Dr. Ohiaeri sent me anti-malarial medication which I took for three days. Before the end of the treatment, the fever had disappeared.
I began to think about my mother. She was under surveillance along with my other family members. I was worried. She had touched my sweat. I couldn’t get the thought off my mind. I prayed for her. Hours later on Twitter, I came across a tweet by W.H.O saying that the sweat of an Ebola patient could not transmit the virus at the early stage of the infection. The sweat could only transmit it at the late stage.
That settled it for me. It calmed the storms that were raging within me concerning my parents. I knew right away it was divine guidance that caused me to see that tweet. I could cope with having Ebola, but I was not prepared to deal with a member of my family contracting it from me.
Soon, volunteer doctors started coming to help Dr. David take care of us. They had learned how to protect themselves. Among the volunteer doctors was Dr. Badmus, my consultant in LUTH during my housemanship days. It was good to see a familiar face among the care-givers. I soon understood the important role these brave volunteers were playing. As they increased in number, so did the number of shifts increase and subsequently the number of times the patients could access a doctor in one day. This allowed for more frequent patient monitoring and treatment. It also reduced care-giver fatigue. It was clear that Lagos state was working hard to contain the crisis.
Sadly, Justina succumbed to the disease on August 12. It was a great blow and my faith was greatly shaken as a result. I commenced daily Bible study with the other two female patients and we would encourage one another to stay positive in our outlook though in the natural it was grim and very depressing. My communion sessions with the other women were very special moments for us all.
On my 10th day in the ward, the doctors, having noted that I had stopped vomiting and stooling and was no longer running a fever, decided it was time to take my blood sample to test if the virus had cleared from my system. They took the sample and told me that I shouldn’t be worried if it came out positive, as the virus takes a while before it is cleared completely. I prayed that I didn’t want any more samples collected from me. I wanted that to be the first and last sample to be tested for the absence of the virus in my system. I called my pastor. He encouraged me and we prayed again about the test.
On the evening of the day Justina passed on, we were moved to the new isolation centre. We felt like we were leaving hell and going to heaven. We were conveyed to the new place in an ambulance. It was just behind the old building. Time would not permit me to recount the drama involved with the dynamics of our relocation. It was like a script from a science fiction movie. The new building was cleaner and much better than the old building. Towels and nightwear were provided on each bed. The environment was serene.
The following night, Dr. Adadevoh was moved to our isolation ward from her private room where she had previously been receiving treatment. She had also tested positive for Ebola and was now in a coma. She was receiving I.V. fluids and oxygen support and was being monitored closely by the W.H.O doctors. We all hoped and prayed that she would come out of it. It was so difficult seeing her in that state. I could not bear it. She was my consultant, my boss, my teacher and my mentor. She was the imperial lady of First Consultants, full of passion, energy and competence. I imagined she would wake up soon and see that she was surrounded by her First Consultants family but sadly it was not to be.
I continued listening to my healing messages. They gave me life. I literarily played them hours on end. Two days later, on Saturday August 16, the W.H.O doctors came with some papers. I was informed that the result of my blood test was negative for Ebola virus. If I could somersault, I would have but my joints were still slightly painful. I was free to go home after being in isolation for exactly 14 days. I was so full of thanks and praise to God. I called my mother to get fresh clothes and slippers and come pick me. My husband couldn’t stop shouting when I called him. He was completely overwhelmed with joy.
I was told, however, that I could not leave the ward with anything I came in with. I glanced one last time at my cd player, my valuable messages, my research assistant (a.k.a my iPad), my phones and other items. I remember saying to myself, “I have life; I can always replace these items.”
I went for a chlorine bath, which was necessary to disinfect my skin from my head to my toes. It felt like I was being baptised into a new life as Dr. Carolina, a W.H.O doctor from Argentina, poured the bucket of chlorinated water all over me. I wore a new set of clothes, following the strict instructions that no part of the clothes must touch the floor and the walls. Dr. Carolina looked on, making sure I did as instructed.
I was led out of the bathroom and straight to the lawn to be united with my family, but first I had to cut the red ribbon that served as a barrier. It was a symbolic expression of my freedom. Everyone cheered and clapped. It was a little but very important ceremony for me. I was free from Ebola! I hugged my family as one who had been liberated after many years of incarceration. I was like someone who had fought death face to face and come back to the land of the living.
We had to pass through several stations of disinfection before we reached the car. Bleach and chlorinated water were sprayed on everyone’s legs at each station. As we made our way to the car, we walked past the old isolation building. I could hardly recognise it. I could not believe I slept in that building for 10 days. I was free! Free of Ebola. Free to live again. Free to interact with humanity again. Free from the sentence of death.
My parents and two brothers were under surveillance for 21 days and they completed the surveillance successfully. None of them came down with a fever. The house had been disinfected by the Lagos state ministry of health soon after I was taken to the isolation centre. I thank God for shielding them from the plague.
My recovery after discharge has been gradual but progressive. I thank God for the support of family and friends. I remember my colleagues who we lost in this battle. Dr. Adadevoh my boss, Nurse Justina Ejelonu, and the ward maid, Mrs. Ukoh were heroines who lost their lives in the cause to protect Nigeria. They will never be forgotten.
I commend the dedication of the W.H.O doctors, Dr. David from Virginia, USA, who tried several times to convince me to specialise in infectious diseases, Dr. Carolina from Argentina who spoke so calmly and encouragingly, Mr. Mauricio from Italy who always offered me apples and gave us novels to read. I especially thank the volunteer Nigerian doctors, matrons and cleaners who risked their lives to take care of us. I must also commend the Lagos state government, and the state and federal ministries of health for their swift efforts to contain the virus. To all those prayed for me, I cannot thank you enough. And to my First Consultants family, I say a heartfelt thank you for your dedication and for your support throughout this very difficult period.
I still believe in miracles. None of us in the isolation ward was given any experimental drugs or so-called immune boosters. I was full of faith yet pragmatic enough to consume as much ORS as I could even when I wanted to give up and throw the bottles away. I researched on the disease extensively and read accounts of the survivors. I believed that even if the mortality rate was 99 per cent, I would be part of the 1 per cent who survive.
Early detection and reporting to hospital is key to patient survival. Please do not hide yourself if you have been in contact with an Ebola patient and have developed the symptoms. Regardless of any grim stories one may have heard about the treatment of patients in the isolation centre, it is still better to be in the isolation ward with specialist care, than at home where you and others will be at risk.
I read that Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia and was flown out to the United States for treatment was being criticised for attributing his healing to God when he was given the experimental drug, Zmapp. I don’t claim to have all the answers to the nagging questions of life. Why do some die and some survive? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where is God in the midst of pain and suffering? Where does science end and God begin? These are issues we may never fully comprehend on this side of eternity. All I know is that I walked through the valley of the shadow of death and came out unscathed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Daily Four Mile Ebola Challenge

James Jajua  (Nero)
I have been sitting here, in my quiet time, thinking about this horrible Ebola virus rampaging existence in my country of birth Sierra Leone. Two days ago another beloved brother James Jajua from my hometown Segbwema, a nurse with over 25 years experience in medical - surgical nursing and Lassa Fever management and a family man had his life cut short by this horrible disease.
Alice Kovoma 

James Jajua, Matilda Koroma,  Aminata Baimba,  Aminata Jajua,  Joe Nallo, Idrissa Magbity, Mrs. Fonnie,  Alice Kovoma. These are all people I knew personally growing up in Segbwema. To some people Ebola victims are statistical figures. To me they are flesh and blood.
Allan Idriss Magbity 

Alice Kovoma was the fiancee of one of my best friends and mentor, Mohamed Mustapha,  aka "Rasta." She was such a stunning beauty that we use to tell Rasta that he was simply the luckiest man in the world. She became a nurse after high school and later went to work for Lassa Fever Research Project. She died in Kenema after exposure to Ebola.

Aminata Baimba was my classmate at Wesley Secondary school. She was such a physical presence and was the best female shot put player throughout her school days at Wesley. She later became a nurse and married the current Paramount Chief of Jawie Chiefdom in Kailahun district. She was one of the first people who died of Ebola in Daru.

Amina Jajua was a very beautiful girl, dark in complexion and very quiet. She was married at a young age to one of my close friends Osman "Tolo" Gbabie. Tolo was very studious and when I was taking my "O" Level exams he became my study partner. We would huddle over our kerosene lamps up to 2.00 clock in the morning and go to school the next day red eyed. He loved his wife so much and only God knows how he is coping at the moment.

Joe Nallo was the brother of another mentor of mine, Allan Idriss Magbity. Joe was a very serious person and not an extrovert like Magbity. He was a nurse at Nixon who helped treat another nurse from Mendekema. This was how he got infected with the Ebola virus. He brought it back home and infected members of his family including his mum and brother.

Allan Idriss Magbity,  aka "Billy Gbash," was simply one of the best people you would ever chance to meet. He was intelligent,  studious and humble, with an infectious laugh. He was one of the first people from our neighborhood to go to college. He used to talk about that experience so much that I decided that one day college would be in my future. He was recently elevated to the position of Principal of the Wesley Junior school. Magbity's death is a huge blow to education in our area.

James Jajua was a nurse who loved his job. He went out of his way to help others and was one of those brothers who would call you, give you lunch money and tell you not to tell anybody. James was one of the people we were very proud of in our own section of Segbwema, Taima. His dad was the head of all the section chiefs in Njaluahun Chiefdom. He was born into the ruling family that has ruled our Njaluahun chiefdom for over half a century.

Matilda Koroma was my age rank and we started primary school together at Segbwema's Methodist Primary School,  before I was relocated to the capital Freetown to continue primary education. When I was in primary school in Freetown,  I was lucky to be selected from all across Sierra Leone to read the Commonwealth prayer for Sierra Leone. Every year on commonwealth day, we would huddle near a radio to listen to the  Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service and hear the announcer say "this is the Commonwealth prayer for Sierra Leone read by Sheku Sheriff." It was a source of great pride for my family and Matilda's mum Mama Baindu  would always tease me about it.

Sometimes people don't know why I pay so much attention in my blog posts to the Ebola outbreak. The reason is simple. To me, Ebola is personal. Even though I live  thousands of miles from Sierra Leone,  Ebola has robbed me of people who really mattered to me growing up.
Allan with Wesley Alumni 

In order to honor the memory of these brothers and sisters, I am setting myself a daily four mile challenge. Starting tomorrow,  I intend to run four miles every day until the Ebola scourge is removed from my country Sierra Leone. Come rain, shine or snow,  I intend to do this challenge to remind myself every day about the thousands of people whose lives have been upended by this dreadful plague.
So tomorrow I start and will keep my blog readership regularly updated.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Robin Fallay Calls for Closure of Historic Segbwema Nixon Memorial Hospital

Nixon Memorial Hospital Segbwema
Administrative Building
Before the civil war in Sierra Leone Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema, which was opened in the 1930s was the best hospital in Eastern Sierra Leone. The Methodist Mission run hospital had medical and surgical units and a training school for State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHN). It was later the home of the sophisticated CDC sponsored, Lassa Fever Research Project. Nixon hospital also had an eye clinic, a leprosy ward and a tuberculosis treatment facility.

In the 80s when I was in Segbwema, Dr. Austin Demby, who is now a virologist with the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was the director of the Lassa Fever Research Project located in the hospital. 

A lot of the best science students who graduated from university in that area before the Sierra Leone civil war found jobs at the Lassa Fever research lab. Nixon was such an excellent hospital that it treated patients from as far away as Mali and Liberia. I remember our family playing host to many of our relatives from Liberia. 
Nixon Surgical Center After the War


Along with many of my compatriots from Segbwema, we were all born in the maternity ward of the sprawling Nixon Memorial hospital.  I can safely say that we received the best health care available those days. I can still remember my immunization card which was marked with all my developmental milestones and vaccinations, as the Nixon Memorial Hospital staff meticulously kept very detailed hospital records in those days. The Principal of our school them the late Rev. Kenneth P. G. Conteh was the first child born in Nixon Hospital.

In the 1970s and 80s, Nixon provided both the economic and social life of Segbwema. Good looking and smartly dressed nursing students came from all over the country, brightening up the social landscape of the old railway town. With the closure of the railway in the 70s, Nixon became Segbwema's top employer and contributed immensely to the economy of the town. The Lassa Fever had the most high paying jobs in the area and provided their employees with motor bikes and vehicles. In those days, the Nixon Memorial hospital and the two secondary schools, Wesley and Holy Ghost, were the life force of Segbwema.

Elizabeth Faley Conteh
Trustee Friends of Nixon
Then came the war. Lassa Fever was relocated to Kenema because of the instability in Segbwema and some of the best doctors in the hospital, including Dr. Jennifer Gibson and Aniru Conteh, left the hospital. Armed militias later vandalized many of the hospitals facilities and structures. At the end of the war, Nixon was a mass of dilapidated equipment and derelict buildings. 

Sarjo A Kamara
Trustee Friends of Nixon
After the war Nixon Memorial hospital lay in ruins. Derelict buildings dotted the hospital landscape and health workers had more or less abandoned the hospital. However, due to the help of organizations like the Sierra Leone Methodist Church, the Friends of Nixon, a UK based charity which has two Segbwema indigenes, Sarjo Aziz K√†mara and √Člizabeth Conteh (Fallay) as trustees http://friendsofnixon.org.uk/ , and the government of Sierra Leone, the hospital was slowly getting back in operation, though a far from the heydays of the 70s and 80s

The struggle to rebuild Nixon Memorial Hospital after the war is carefully cataloged in great details by Michael and Joey, a family of health care missionaries who worked in the hospital from 2007 to 2014. Michael was the hospital administrator and Joey was a midwifery teacher at the nursing school. To know more about Nixon at this time, visit Michael and Joey blog at http://mickyandjoey-tonixonandbeyond.blogspot.com/
Hospital Lab after the War

Currently, Nixon Memorial hospital is in a bad shape. The government of the late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah complemented the work of Nixon Hospital by helping with drug supplies and subventions to upkeep its activities. However, with the change in government in 2007, public priorities shifted and Nixon was no longer a priority as the new government decided to rather invest in a national "free health care" system. Drud suppliers and subventions to the hospital were stopped. AlsoThe Lassa Fever facilities which were relocated to Kenema during the war still remained in Kenema. Currently there is only one medical doctor in the hospital and a handful of nurses. However the hospital had seen a major face lift during the mid 2000s. 
Hon Abu Jajua Current PM

Determining the way forward for Nixon Hospital has become a war of words between two ambitious young Segbwema politicians in what is slowly becoming a proxy fight between country's ruling All People's Congress (APC) party and the main opposition Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP). During the first term of President Ernest Bai koroma, Robin Faley was the opposition SLPP MP for Kailahun Constituency 7 within which Segbwema is located. In 2012 to avoid prosecution over allegations of electoral malpractice, Robin Faley defected to the ruling APC, received that party's symbol and was defeated by his cousin the current MP Abu Jajua who ran on the SLPP ticket.  A fellow who is quite politically savvy, Robin soon made inroads into an APC party that was keen to have a strong foothold in the east of the country. He is currently APC's Deputy National Publicity Secretary.
Robin Farley APC National
Publicity Secretary II

Robin Faley made headlines immediately before the Ebola outbreak by being one of the champions of a campaign to change the country's constitution to allow President Koroma to go for another term, claiming that there was no better person to run the country than their generous political patron. For his efforts Robin was elevated to the top of the party's electoral hierarchy by President Koroma. 

About two weeks ago Robin Farlay went to Segbwema and had a tete-a-tete with the paramount chief, almost convincing him that due to the poor condition of the hospital, the government should take over the complete management of the hospital.These deliberations of course did not include his political rival, the current MP Abu Jajua. Robin Faley has also called for the government to close the hospital down while deciding the way forward as he claims that the hospital with its lack of staff is now more of a danger to the area's public health than a benefit.

Constituency 7 MP Abu Jajua felt slighted and angered by the calls by Robin for the closure of the hospital, which he thought was a move motivated more for political reasons than for public health considerations. Hon Abu Jajua went on radio condemning Robin Farlay's moves to which Robin responded by saying that he was calling for the hospital to be closed to protect the citizens of the area. 

Most citizen's of the locality are however angered by Robin's calls to close down the historic hospital, even if it is just on a temporary basis. A student organization calling itself the Brains of Segbwema stated that their desire was for the government to collaborate with the Methodist Mission in running the hospital, but were definitely against the government taking over the hospital. They suggested that the government could help the hospital by resuming subventions, helping with the deployment of medical personnel, helping with the recruitment of staff for the hospital and helping the nursing students seek employment upon graduation. They believe that the day to day affairs of the hospital should however be left in the hands of private entities.

My own opinion as a social advocate falls along similar lines as those of the members of the Brains of Segbwema. In the first place, the stated policy of this government has been efficiency through privatization. President Koroma believes in running government institutions like businesses. Taking a private hospital, even a struggling one and making it a government run hospital does not give one much hope. Just take a look at the government hospitals around Sierra Leone, even in the big urban towns. Were it not for the war, Nixon was way ahead of many of these hospitals. There is no record of efficient government hospital management in Sierra Leone worth emulating and Nixon would be better served by a private management whose operation is overseen by all major stakeholders, including the Sierra Leone Government.

On the proposal to lock down the hospital, Robin Fallay should definitely be more innovative. Now that we have established contact with Cuba and China, can't he use his influence with the President to see if an arrangement would be made to send two or more of these skilled Clinicians to serve the hospital in the eventuality of another Ebola outbreak. Or does he want to close down the hospital, to be later opened in great fanfare for political posturing. Until the authorities in Sierra Leone and individuals learn that at this moment petty politics should be put on the back burner, the fight against Ebola will continue to be tough.

Over the past week Hon.Abu Jajua  called a joint meeting of the relevant chiefdom stakeholders regarding the hospital.  The meeting involved the Paramount Chief and his council of elders, the current Nixon Management and some prominent Segbwema descendants. They all agreed to impress on government the need to reinstate the subventions and drug supplies to the hospital that were stopped in 2008. They were also informe that the Friends of Nixon would have substantially increased assistance to the hospital, but the Ebola crisis had led to a stall in their proposed activities. The Methodist Mission also remains committed to the hosptal Most Segbwema descendants are amazed that Robin Faley should be championing calls to close down Nixon for whatever reason at this time. 

Would a historical hospital like Segbwema be buried in the quagmire of political grandstanding? Only time will decide.
Report Compiled by
The Segbwema Blogger