Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, recently visited the Coyah Ebola Treatment Centre. The Centre, situated 50km from Conakry, was opened on 31 December 2014. It has a capacity of 100 beds, 50 of which have been used till date. As of 26 February 2015, 17 patients, including 14 confimed Ebola cases and 3 suspected case were adimitted in the Centre. Patients come from Boffa, Coyah, Dubréka and Forécariah Préfectures .
The Coyah Ebola Treatment Centre delivers all essential care services for Ebola-infected patients (laboratory, pharmacy, treatment unit) and has water and electrical power autonomy. A total of 219 health workers of various categories currently work at the Centre. They are Guineans, workers of the Cuban and African Union medical missions, as well as WHO experts.
Dr Sékou Ditinn Cissé, Director of the Coyah Ebola Treatment Centre, said the main difficulty encountered is late arrival of patients who get to the the Centre very tired and often at the later stage of the infection, a situation which has contributed to the high death rate. This is due in particular to reluctance in communities. In fact, in many communities, people still refuse to take patients to the Centre after occurence of early symptoms.
As regards the Centre’s personnel, Dr Cissé pointed out that no health worker had been infected, and underlined that the priorities of the Coyah Ebola Treatment Centre Centre are Ebola prevention and control.
The Guinean physicians, Cuban and WHO experts provided the Regional Director more detailed information in the wards she visted.
I am impressed…
At the end of her visit to the Centre, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said „I am impressed with the performance of the Centre and the information provided. The Centre adequately delivers services in various specialization domains. There are no stockouts of medicines or individual protective kits. Infection prevention and control measures are being respected, which helps improve quality of treatment. One of the Centre’s value added is the fact that it taps from the experiences of a large number of health workers from various backgrounds“.
Lastly, Dr Moeti welcomed the ongoing skills transfer at the Centre through the training of a critical mass of Guineans.
Appeal by the WHO Regional Director for Africa
Dr Moeti launched a pressing appeal to the populations to bring patients to the Centre as soon as early symptoms of Ebola virus disease occur. The earlier patients are brought to the Centre, the greater their chances of healing. If the populations collaborate, the results will be even better, Dr Moeti concluded.
Conversation between Dr Moeti and two persons healed from Ebola
The visit of the WHO Regional Director for Africa to the Coyah Ebola Treatment Centre coincided with the dicharge of two persons who had healed from Ebola and were preparing to return to their community, notably a lady and a gentleman treated at the Centre as from the early stage of the infection and had recovered from the disease.
Below is the conversation between Dr Moeti and the two persons healed from Ebola, in an unprecedented encounter.
Regional Director: What do you think about this Centre?
Lady and gentleman: It is a very good Centre. Contrarily to what we were told, they don’t kill people here. Instead, the Centre treats patients.
Regional Director: Are you from the same family?
Lady and gentleman: No. But we come from the same village.
Regional Director: Did members of your family visit you at the Centre?
Lady: Yes, my brothers came.
Gentleman: No, no person from my family visited me.
Regional Director: How were you treated at the Centre?
Lady and gentlemean: Very well. We eat well and were given medicines. They took good care of us, in all aspects.
Regional Director: What will you tell your family, your community? Do you have any message?
Lady and gentleman: Yes. We will tell them that the Ebola Treatment Centre is a good place. People should trust the Centre and its physicians. If you come early, you may be healed, thanks to God. We thank you too for helping us; we thank the health workers.
The conversation ended with these words by Dr Moeti: „We count on you to be our messengers. It is through the participation of communities that we will defeat Ebola virus disease. I thank you and wish you safe return to your families“
WHO Representative cautions against stigmatization and discrimination
At the end of the conversation, WHO Representative in Guinea, Pr Jean-Marie Dangou, requested the Ebola Treatment Centre workers designated to accompany the treated patients to their village to ensure that the populations receiving them back are sensitized beforehand in order to avoid stigmatization and discrimination, and also to facilitate the social rehabilitation of the treated patients.
Lastly, the treated patients were given kits comprising food items, clothes, vitamins and condoms.