CONAKRY - After nearly getting Ebola under control in August, Guinea’s outbreak is worsening - as new cases in previously virus-free areas are being reported daily.
Guinean President Alpha Conde has called on the nation’s retired doctors to serve in the fight against Ebola. Conde said the collective experience is needed to educate health workers - who are at risk or spreading the risk to others.
Efforts to spread awareness of how Ebola is spread continues to be met with resistance by many Guineans, who either don’t believe Ebola is real or are fearful that medical personnel are actually spreading the deadly disease.
Lack of health care workers
Another major issue in Guinea is a lack of health care workers. And many of those in the field do not have the experience or training to contain the outbreak.
There have been numerous cases reported where doctors are refusing to put on medical gloves or take other precautions.
Ebola is spread by contact with body fluids from a sick person or the bodies of those who died from the virus.
Speaking in Conakry Tuesday, the president tapped into patriotism to inspire Guinea to tackle Ebola like Nigeria, which has been declared free of the virus.
Conde said Guinea is at war with Ebola and during a time of war, no one retires. He is calling on retired health care workers to think of themselves as soldiers.
In case his appeal to a sense of duty to the country isn’t enough, Conde said he is prepared to make it compulsory.
He said, "I am recalling you and most of you are heeding that call. But for those of you who resist, you will be forced to join the Ebola fight."
Many willing to help
Many retired medical personnel expressed their willingness to join in the fight and those, like Professor Amara Sesay, said this move will save lives.
Sesay said the method in the fight against Ebola must be systematic and this is an opportunity to achieve that by improving our health sector.
Conde this week also has met with a cross section of medical students to recruit their skills.
Guinea has recorded more than 1,500 cases of Ebola, with more than 860 deaths.
The outbreak began in Guinea in December has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.
However, both Nigeria and Senegal have been declared Ebola-free this month - raising hopes the outbreak can be contained and stopped.