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Ebola scare rocks Gwanda

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A ZIMBABWEAN engineer-based in Nigeria was on Tuesday night treated from a Toyota Fun Cargo vehicle at Gwanda Hospital after exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms as health officials were scared to admit him into the institution, fearing he had contracted the deadly virus that has claimed almost 5 000 lives since its outbreak in West Africa.

ALBERT NCUBE
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Most of the deaths have occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with eight in Nigeria and one in the United States, but countries throughout the world are on high alert.

The incident has exposed the lack of preparedness at the provincial referral hospital in the event of an outbreak of Ebola, as the centre has no facilities to quarantine patients suspected to be infected with the virus. This is despite government claims that it is ready to deal with the epidemic.

Sources said Arnold Chada (45) was reportedly brought to the hospital by a colleague at around midnight on Tuesday.

The colleague then proceeded to inform night duty officials that he had brought a patient suffering from fever and that he had recently been in Nigeria. Fearing for the worst, Chada, who returned from the West African nation last Saturday, was ordered to remain in the vehicle as nurses called doctors to come and attend to him.

“Everyone was afraid to attend to him, as they feared the worst. However, after some deliberations some doctors attended to him, before he was told to go home,” said the sources who requested anonymity.

Southern Eye managed to track down Chada, who said he was happy with the way authorities at the hospital had treated him.

“I am actually thankful to hospital staff and the doctors who attended to me,” he said. “I had a fever and like someone who works in Nigeria I had to be honest about where I came from. I understand that our hospitals do not have the proper facilities to deal with such cases.

“I went there again this morning (Wednesday) and I was well received. I am feeling better now.”

Earlier this month a suspected Ebola patient from the Democratic Republic of Congo was admitted at Wilkins Hospital in Harare after showing Ebola-like symptoms.

The first symptoms of Ebola include the sudden onset of fever, weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea and as the diseases progress it can cause kidney and liver failure and it spreads via body fluids.

Both the hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Pugie Chimberengwa and the provincial medical director Dr William Busumani referred questions to Health minister David Parirenyatwa, saying they were not allowed to speak to the media.

Efforts to get a comment from the Health ministry were fruitless.

Nigeria was recently declared Ebola free.

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