KINDIA, GUINEA —
Guinean security forces are intensifying their Ebola screening efforts at the border with Sierra Leone.
At the Madina Oula town crossing, people are subjected to rigorous health checks. Guinean security forces check for fever and instruct all travelers to wash their hands with soap before entering Guinea.
Kindia, the district capital, is a short distance away - just 150 kilometers from the Guinean capital of Conakry.
Kindia's Ebola crisis committee has responded to several suspected cases. All but one have tested negative.
“A single case of Ebola has been reported in Kindia," explains District Senior Health Officer Dr. Mory Togba. "It concerned a female medical student who had traveled to attend a funeral ceremony for a Catholic priest in Conakry.” He says she started showing symptoms after returning home to Kindia and was transferred back to Conakry for treatment.
Dr. Togba said her family and the medical staff who treated her in Kindia are quarantined. None have shown symptoms.
But at least 33 health workers have died from Ebola in Guinea. Seventy-seven others have gotten sick.
The head of the regional hospital in Kindia, Dr. Abu Conde, says one problem has been the medical staff are neglecting to put on gloves.
He says 13 members of his staff came in contact with the sick medical student and have been placed under quarantine for 21 days. Conde explains that he made it a rule that all hospital staff must now wear gloves whenever they see a patient and anyone who fails to do so will face sanctions.
Kindia’s senior health officer says the Ebola education campaign in the district is yielding fruit and household members are cooperating. However, residents told VOA that some resistance remains.
According to businesswoman Mariam Camara, people worry that common malaria is being confused with Ebola.
“I am sure that Ebola does exist, but I have met several people who say all this Ebola business is a lie," she says. “They say doctors are mistaking people who don’t have Ebola for Ebola patients and taking them at the Kindia hospital where they are giving them the wrong injection until they die.”
Unlike some companies who have shut down due to the Ebola, the RUSAL mining company, a Russian-owned bauxite company in Kindia, is still operating. The company employs approximately 10,000 local residents.
A senior worker there told VOA that they will continue to stay in Guinea until Ebola is finally eradicated.