Dr Chi­talu Chilu­fya

Daily Nation Newspaper - - FRONT PAGE - By AARON CHIYANXO

talks to one of the pa­tients af­ter a heart op­er­a­tion at UTH. Pi­acgtuere3 By Linda Soko Tembo.

THERE was near com­mo­tion at Lusakas’ Matero Level One Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day af­ter a hoax phone call to the in­sti­tu­tion claimed an ebola pa­tient was head­ing there. Min­istry of Health Pub­lic Re­la­tions manager, Stanis­laus Ngosa, told the Daily Na­tion in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day that the health work­ers went into alert mode and re­acted as per train­ing fall­ing the call and sent away pa­tients be­cause that was part of pro­ce­dure in the event of the real thing hap­pen­ing. Mr Ngosa said af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the min­istry dis­cov­ered that the call was a hoax be­cause there was no ebola pa­tient re­ferred to that hos­pi­tal. He how­ever, com­mended med­i­cal per­son­nel for re­act­ing ap­pro­pri­ately as they should in the event of a real sit­u­a­tion hap­pen­ing. Ear­lier in the day, pan­ic­stricken med­i­cal staff im­me­di­ately went in alert mode and in­structed pa­tients and their rel­a­tives at the out­pa­tients depart­ment to stop what­ever they were do­ing and va­cate the premises. There was chaos at the phar­macy as those who were waiting to col­lect their pre­scribed drugs jos­tled to re­trieve their newly in­tro­duced elec­tronic cards be­cause phar­macy staff were prepar­ing to close the unit. A Daily Na­tion staffer who was at the hos­pi­tal to seek treat­ment at the time, wit­nessed the en­su­ing con­fu­sion as bewil­dered pa­tients com­plained about be­ing sent back with­out drugs. Phar­macy staff had a tough time to close the ser­vice win­dow as women mostly with ba­bies tried to pre­vent them from clos­ing. "Bakamba ati titenge ma cards chi­fukwa kuli ebola," said one women as she tried to get her card from the phar­macy. As reports of the sus­pected Ebola pa­tient spread to all units of the hos­pi­tal, med­i­cal staff were seen down­ing mouth masks and as part of pre­ven­tive mea­sures and in readi­ness for the emer­gency. Some ter­ri­fied trainee nurses found out­side the hos­pi­tal premises said they would not re­turn to work as only qual­i­fied per­son­nel were re­quired for such an emer­gency. A man whose rel­a­tive, a pa­tient who had re­mained in the hos­pi­tal, was heard an­grily shout­ing on the phone "chokani umo muli ebola mu­chi­tachani kansi." (Get out of that place, what are you do­ing here, there is Ebola in that place). A mother with a small baby said she was about to col­lect the medicine when she was told to leave by med­i­cal staff. A check by the Daily Na­tion af­ter about two hours found the waiting bay and the hos­pi­tal cor­ri­dors still empty with only a hand­ful of peo­ple at the reg­is­tra­tion of­fice. Un­like other nor­mal work­ing days, the taxi rank out­side the hos­pi­tal was also empty while the guard at the main gate was seen po­si­tion­ing him­self as if he had just re­ported for work. Some nurses were seen re­mov­ing mouth masks .

- Pic­ture By Landa Soko Tembo

One of the pa­tients be­ing op­er­ated on at the UTH.

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