” YES!” TO THE USE OF EXPERIMENTAL DRUGS


I woke up this morning to the loud ringtone of my phone. I got up and ran to the table to pickup the call. I picked-up the phone and saw a familiar number calling. The caller asked ” can I have an interview with you”? I replied asking what the interview was about . The would-be interviewer informed me that there are reports that the government of Liberia via its President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has communicated with the United States Government via President Obama, for the use of the experimental drug (Zmapp). Indeed, the United States Government through its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consented to Liberia’s request to use the drug on two Liberian doctors. I agreed to have the interview later. Subsequently, I ran to my ipad switched on the Internet and quickly reached for the Front Page Africa website to get myself apprised. Front Page Africa carried the story confirming my would-be interviewer’s information. Additionally, I understood that the World Health Organization (WHO) also agreed to send additional doses of the experimental serum to Liberia.

After reading the article, the moment was like ” wow! Is this really happening?”. In my previous article named, Cater to Health Workers, I stressed the need for the Liberian government to ask the United States government for the possible usage of the experimental drug in Liberia. So I was elated by the news.

In little discussions, people were analyzing the negatives and positives of the used of the drug in Liberia. Some asserted that the drug has only been used on two humans that contracted the Ebola Virus in Liberia. Even though it proved to be working well on the two American Health Workers, but is that sufficient to think that same will happen to the two Liberian doctors or others that will be treated with the drug?Already there are thoughts in some corridors of Africa, that the West experiments on Africans which subsequently results into such disease as the Ebola Virus. In addition, some health experts have advised that the used of experimental drugs is not the best way to curbing this epidemic. They stressed the need for prevention, awareness, quarantining and contact tracing.

In my little corner, I began to analyze their comments from a different viewpoint. The disease has a 60 to 90% mortality rate which indicates that a victim has between 10 to 40% survival rate. The chances of death is higher than the chances of living. Additionally, the medication has been tested on two persons and has shown to be working positively. Why not have something ( the Zmapp drug) to hope on for survival than nothing at all? In as much I am not a health expert, talk less of being a health practitioner, but I am of the opinion that in addition to prevention, awareness, quarantining and contact tracing, the use of experimental drug helps in exterminating the virus. If the drug is not experimented, how do we know its positive workability? I think this is a way to go and I join hands with the WHO to overwhelmingly support the use of Zmapp or TMZ-Ebola with the consent of patients or family members.

The swift intervention of the President of Liberia to request for the drug, and the acceptance of the President of the United States of America and FDA are all commendable. The United States support in this regard and other directions that center on fighting this disease shows its unflinching interest in eradicating this epidemic from Liberia. The Chinese government should also be commended for its support through the supply of equipment and drugs to Liberia, and the West African Region affected by the virus. This donation shows the Chinese people deep interest in seeing an Ebola free Liberia and West African Region.

TOEFL  AND IELTS EXEMPTION 


John is always seen on the internet. Surprisingly, as youthful as he is , he is usually not on Facebook, or other social media.  His friend questioned him  ” why are you usually on the websites of foreign schools ?”. He replied ” I want to do my masters in a foreign land”. “Oh! You have an undergraduate degree”? His friend asked in a highly enquiring manner. He answered ” yes, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and will like to do my masters in the same field with focus on volunteerism.” Wow! That is great”, his friend intoned.John was intermittently conversing and turning back and forth to his computer while he conversed and browsed. John informed his friend further that he had a problem with many of the foreign schools he had researched. His friends was curious to know what the problem was. He asked rushingly ” what problem do you have with those universities”? John responded and said I will tell you later. Please allow me to get through researching this other school.

I sat quietly in the corner anxiously waiting for John’s response to his friend’s question. After he got through researching, he turn around and said “I am ready to answer your question and register my dissatisfaction with many of these international schools”. He continued ” why don’t these schools exempt students that study in Liberia from sitting the TOEFL or IELTS? These standardized tests are meant for non- native  English language speakers. Liberia is an English speaking country wherein the only means of instruction in schools is English. All of our professional work is done in English.Why are we not exempted from these exams?” His friend averred “you are very right, John”. He (John’s friend) further avowed that he had semilar hitch-up with one of his applications to a foreign school. 

I sat in my little corner and began to analyze the statements from the guys. I asked myself whether Liberia is an English speaking country? I answered my question in the affirmative that Liberia is indeed an English speaking country. The next question was why Liberia is not being exempted from these exams ? Is it that the Ministry of Education via its Commission on Higher Learning is not doing enough to collaborate with schools and governments abroad to have Liberia exempted from these exams? Or are our English not too good? These were questions flowing through my mind. 

From a holistic view point, Liberia speaks English and every professional activity including formal education is done in English. This speaks strongly to level at which the English language is spoken and written in Liberia. This calls for international bodies or institutions and schools responsible to require students to sit such exam, keep in mind that Liberia should be given some exemption. The Liberian Ministry of Education needs to intervene in informing schools around the world that Liberia is an English speaking country and we should be treated as such.

CATER TO HEALTH WORKERS


I was on my way to a program but had to pass through a community in order to get to the venue of the event. As I passed through the community, I heard some voices of people that sounded like they were crying. As I got a little closer, it became glaring that the voices I heard from a far were  voices of cries. Even though the message was not very clear, but I managed to understand  the cries of the lady that  lay prostrated to the ground. She cried ” why did you leave us……we did not see you in your illness……I did not even see your corps to say goodbye….your grave will not be identified”. When I enquired as to the reasons of the sorrow, I was apprised that the lady at the point of affliction had just lost her two children to the fatal Ebola Disease. They were nurses working at health centers in one of the epic centers of the disease. I did not get to know the medium of  their infection. But one will surmise that they were infected via their various places of work or by one of them giving care to the other (infected) at home. As I stood far from the happenings, I saw grief, anguish, and sadness in the bereaved mother’s eyes and in the faces of family members and sympathizers. This immediately rolled down tears from my eyes. My tears came down so profusely that I had  to reach for my handkerchief to wipe the tears.

As I left the scene and continued walking to the program, I began to contemplate  on the  heroic and passionate efforts of  the many health workers that are late and also those that continue to save lives. At this point in Liberia’s history, health workers have become like soldiers fighting on the frontline. In this case, they are fighting against enemies that are invisible and attack in mysterious ways. Their front-lines are  the hospitals, clinics, and health care centers. As I furthered my steps, I almost hit a man unconsciously due to the thoughts that were running through my head and the sad experience I had just had.

Consequently, a conscious and caring individual will ask about the government and other institutions contributions or efforts towards health workers. Are they being given protective gears, good compensation and life insurance as they help to save lives in the wake of the Ebola Disease? If the answer is in the negative, that I know it is, how do we expect health workers to continue the fight against this disease. I will not like to compare Liberia with other affected countries but Nigeria has just confirmed seven cases and they are discussing on improving health workers’ compensation and life insurance. Additionally, The Nigerian Government has allocated an initial amount of 11 Million United States Dollars to curbing the disease. I commend Liberia’s late efforts to fighting this disease. The government has allocated 5 Million United States Dollars and other measures including training health workers, quarantining areas highly affected by the virus, to fighting the disease. Like many pundits have asserted, if these interventions had been made by the confirmation of the virus in Guinea, more than 200 persons could not have been victims to the epidemic. But the late efforts are still acceptable to avoiding further infections and deaths. Additionally, the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise funds for the West African Region , the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send 50 health experts to the region, the intervention of Samaritan Purse and Medicin San Frontier (MSF) and other international partners are all commendable in the fight against this epidemic. 

The issue of Ebola has become a global emergency and the aid of everyone around the world is highly needed.  Let us spread the message of prevention and aid and pray for those in isolation and treatment centers. Please, do not forget to remember the hero and heroines (health practitioners) that have lost their lives and continue to save lives. I hope the United States  can approve the use of the experimental drug to further enhance the efforts of Tekmia as advances have been made to producing an Ebola drug (TMK-Ebola). I pray that Ebola will be KICKED OUT  in the matter of days.

Ebola is Real and Fatal


I was in a gathering that was supposed to be intellectually charged but heard a contrary statement from a so-called  educated individual and  also very prominent. He asserted “That disease does not exist”. His claim was in doubt or denial that the lethal Ebola Disease does not exist. Upon hearing this statement, I immediately shook my head in opposite directions (from left to right) in total disbelief to his assertion.  I quietly said to myself “is he serous?”. Why will he say such thing?

The first step to preventing or curing any disease is the acceptance that it exists. This is same with this deadly Ebola Disease that has full our hands. When you read the newspaper (local and international), browse the websites of Samaritan Purse, Medicin San Frontier, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tune on the radio and television (local and international), you get information appraising that the disease truly exists especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and now Nigeria. So what is triggering the doubt especially among educated people? I would understand if an uneducated person will live in disbelief but not an educated one. This is not about opinions anymore but facts that the disease is here.

In Liberia,  many cherish the politicization of almost everything. This has extended to the point that once you are capable of expressing yourself to a smaller or larger public, you automatically consider yourself a politician which in most instances triggers the politicization. The issue of this disease is being politicized with claims that it is just a makeup by the government to acquire some money. Why should we advance such ugly thought that will do us nothing in uprooting a disease that is killing people by the day? With the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) to generate funds for the affected countries, there will be a lot of hubbub here as regards the proper use of the funds. As the educated ones, you are to inform others who do not comprehend issues surrounding the disease. You are a torch-bearer and a leader and as such, the definition of your role should be actualized.

Furthermore, let me emphasize that the Ebola Disease is real and it is killing people by the day. It has a 60 to 90% mortality rate with no cure but can be prevented. Some of the symptoms are red eyes, rash, sore throat, stomach pain, high fever, diarrhea and vomiting, headache, and bleeding from every opening on the body. The disease can be prevented by staying away from people who show the above listed symptoms or use protective clothing when caring for ill persons, stay away from dead bodies, wash your hands with soap and chlorinated water very often, avoid eating bush meat, bats and fruits bitten by bats. These were the pieces of information my colleague, Abigail Hanky, and I shared during our awareness campaign in the Lakpazee Community. It was voluntarily done with the backing of the Lakpazee Community Church.

Additionally, this disease has glaringly exposed further the weak health system we have.  All health centers around Liberia need the specially made protective clothing and disinfectants to prevent themselves and aid them in eradicating this disease. Care givers, especially the health workers are likely to contracting the disease because they are usually the first point of contact with ill people. Consequently, they should be given all the necessary tools to protect themselves. Kudos to the health practitioners, especially the nurse aids, nurses, physician assistants, laboratory technicians and doctors who are doing all they can within their means to ensure that this disease is kicked out. You are our heroes and heroines. You have shown the true meaning of your callings.

A State of Emergency has been declared by the President of Liberia. An initial amount of 5 Million United States Dollars has been allocated to the fight against the disease. Additional measures including the quarantining of infected communities and borders, training of health workers, and the establishment of a call center have been instituted. Even though we expected these stringent measures when the existence of the virus was first announced in Guinea, but these are good measures to curbing this virus. An earlier attack on the virus could not have resulted to the negative situation we now have on our hands. Additionally, we should take further steps to enquiring from the United States Government as to the use of the experimental drug that was used on the two Americans that were flown from Liberia to the US. Nigeria has asked the US Government to use the drug.

All religious, social, traditional and political institutions should rise up and sensitize members on the prevention and effects of this fatal disease. Members of these institutions believe in their leaders. If these leaders should inform their members about the existence of the disease and means of preventing it, I am of the conviction that we will be riding on the right path to exterminating the illness. Least we forget that the government has the major responsibility to finding sufficient funds, expertise, equipment or tools to fighting this sickness and it must do just that.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families of all those that have lost their lives to this disease.  To stop the next Ebola related death, we must accept that Ebola is real and disseminate the information in our communities and various places of worship and work.