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Sierra Leone Discharges ‘Healed’ Ebola Victims

  • Peter Clottey

Jamilah Jawara, an Ebola survivor, dances in celebration with fellow survivors, Kenema, Sierra Leone, Oct. 17, 2014. (Nina Devries / VOA)

Jamilah Jawara, an Ebola survivor, dances in celebration with fellow survivors, Kenema, Sierra Leone, Oct. 17, 2014. (Nina Devries / VOA)

Sierra Leone’s information minister said the fight against Ebola received a significant boost after dozens infected with the virus were successfully treated and discharged from established treatment centers near the capital, Freetown on Wednesday.

Alpha Kanu said the discharges give hope to Sierra Leoneans infected with the virus, indicating they have a chance for survival instead of the prevailing assertion infection with Ebola amounts to certain death.

Ebola survival

Kanu said the government has seen a success rate of over 35 percent after launching the effort to combat the infection.

“The survival rate has been quite high 35, 36, sometimes even 40 percent,” said Kanu. “We have so far 652 survivors today. Even the new treatment centers that were put up by the police and the military at the police training school at the beginning of the lockdown, has passed out about 134 people today with Ebola free.

“We believe that they are doing the right things, because if we can have 653 survivors, it means there must be something that is being done right,” said Kanu. “It is to strengthen this, to enforce this and also to capacitate those who are dong that so that they can do much more.”

Local treatment

Kanu said the administration has made strides in treating citizens infected with Ebola.

There is no known cure or vaccine to treat Ebola, but Information Minister Kanu said health workers do have mechanisms to treat symptoms of the disease and therefore increase victims’ chances of survival.

He said symptoms of the disease are similar to well-known ailments in the region including, diarrhea, cholera fever and malaria.

“So what the doctors do is that they treat the symptoms and they try and strengthen the immunity by giving them good nutrition and also giving them vitamin supplements, and this is why we believe that they are able to withstand the disease,” said Kanu.

“Once that is done, the people are tested again and over and over and [the result] turn negative,” said Kanu. “So, I believe this runabout way is a cure, even though we don’t have a direct silver bullet to do it.”

Discharge

Kanu said the wide-spread impression of Ebola is that when a person is infected, he or she faces a death sentence. However, he said, the discharges serve as good news to those infected.

“The discharge means hope for people. It means even hope for those who have not yet contracted the disease and hopefully, they will not contract it. Because if the disease has survivors, then it means there must be away out,” said Kanu. “Now we know that through some intuitive and imaginative treatment people are coming out of this and it is also a ray of hope for those who are still ill [and] for those who are suspects. For the rest of the population there is hope that we can control this disease eventually.”

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