Friday, 10 October 2014

Should The International Community Build A World-Class Infectious Diseases Hospital In Ghana?


There have been media reports of a number of job resignations and outright refusals to treat anymore Ebola patients amongst the medical staff at Madrid's Carlos111 hospital - where nursing assistant, Ms. Teresa Romeros Ramos, who contracted the  Ebola fever virus whiles caring for a Spanish priest repatriated to Spain from Sierra Leone, where he contracted Ebola fever, is herself recieving treatment: the first such transmission in Europe.

 Considering the deadly nature of the Ebola fever virus, and the high toll it has taken in mortality rates amongst healthcare professionals in the countries at the centre of the outbreak of the virus in west Africa, it is not surprising that there appears to be a reluctance amongst healthcare professionals working at Madrid's Carlos 111 hospital to treat anymore Ebola patients.

Apparently they are doubtful that the hospital is sufficiently equipped to handle the treatment  of Ebola patients safely. There have been similar misgivings expressed by some healthcare professionals in Ghana too.

However, dangerous viruses are not respectors of national boundaries: we could be dealing with an outbreak of Ebola fever tomorrow, for example. Alas,  conditions here are perfect for it to spread quickly and widely. We are only lucky to have been spared thus far.

For that reason , our nation's leaders must think the unthinkable - and make a proposal to the international community: as a long-term solution to help prevent future pandemics of dangerous viral infections.

Perhaps Ghana's leaders ought to suggest to the international community that in an interconnected world, it would be wise for the wealthy nations of the world to consider contributing funds for the World Health Organisation (WHO), to build the world's best-equipped infectious diseases hospital in Ghana.

Were such a hospital available today, for example, in addition to treating local people, it  could be made available for the treatment of the healthcare professionals from around the world who have volunteered to come to west Africa, to help halt the spread of the Ebola fever to the other nations in west Africa not affected by the current outbreak, who contract Ebola themselves.

That would prevent the spreading of deadly hemorrhagic fever infections to other continents that we have seen occurring in the current west African Ebola fever outbreak.

Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died on Wednesday in Texas, and put some of those he came into contact with at risk, was also in Ghana for a wedding in 2011.

Who is to say that someone else  from Liberia might not attend a similar event in Ghana next week - and fall ill here a few days after that wedding? In theory, we are all at risk from viruses brought from elsewhere, to wherever in the world we live.

If funds are provided for the suggested WHO infectious diseases hospital's  construction, it could become a centre of excellence for the treatment of contagious diseases, where healthcare professionals from across Africa could also be trained to deal with deadly viruses that cause infectious diseases such as Ebola, Marburg  and Lassa fevers. It must have a crematorium attached to it too.

It should also be designed to have a capacity for a thousand beds and have accommodation for the healthcare professionals who will work there. It should provide individual wards for the care of all its patients safely - meaning staff should be able to deal with the disposal of personal protection clothing for healthcare professionals, and all the patients' bedding, clothing, cutlery, crockery, bodily fluids and solids, safely.

Offering land to the international community for the construction of such a specialist infectious diseases hospital, could be Ghana's contribution to the fight against the outbreak of dangerous infectious diseases in Africa specifically, and the rest of the world generally. In my humble opinion, for the common good of all humankind, the international community ought to build a world-class infectious diseases hospital in Ghana. A word to the wise...
















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