OB Sisay urges us to learn from the Western Africa Ebola virus epidemic (2013-2016) and make informed decisions about the COVID-19 outbreak across the continent.
OB Sisay was Director of The Situation Room at the National Ebola Response Centre of Sierra Leone during the West Africa Ebola outbreak. He was awarded a Gold Medal by the President of Sierra Leone and awarded an OBE by HM The Queen for his role in ending the outbreak.
Watch YouTube video here.
Summary from the article COVID-19 Lessons from West Africa's Battle against Ebola by OB Sisay (March 2020)
Originally published at politica.think.bm
Image source: politica.think.bm
Fact check: don’t fall for conspiracy theories
During the initial stages of the Ebola outbreak, WHO and governments presented conflicting figures about infections and deaths - therefore citizens didn’t believe Ebola even existed
Instead of emphasising the lack of a cure, focus on the chances of survival with early diagnosis and following guidelines & safety instructions
Some went to traditional healers creating new infection hotspots as those healers, their patients and families got sick, traveled home and spread it further
call or text your traditional healer instead and ask for remote guidance
Some took paracetamol to fool temperature checks at the airport
people are not always rational when they think they might die
Health facilities can tragically become infection centers
Understand and implement infection prevention measures to protect staff and patients
Viral epidemics often infect medical staff in the second assault
Death rates for other diseases will rise
Keep people supplied with essentials (food, goods, medical care)
Decide case by case: keep confined people at home or bring them to the health facilities for closer monitoring of symptoms?
Rule of thumb: stay at home as long as possible / at home minimize contact with confined ppl while maximising safety measures (disinfection, physical distance)
Cures and vaccines need to be developed during the outbreak
Economic and other public policy responses have to be highly dynamic
How do we pay for the response before/during/after the outbreak?
Globally, richer countries have to support LMICs to people as well as supply chains
Companies have to repurpose their entire supply model to ensure resilience
Companies, schools, the police, public offices, prisons etc. all have to review first aid & isolation and capabilities and training
OB Sisay was at the heart of Sierra Leone's response to the Ebola outbreak from 2014-2016. Here he tells us about the importance of contact tracing, and what lessons they learned during that time which can be applied to the current coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the difference between the two viruses. He was speaking to Bola Mosuro. (Picture: A woman talks to a health official in South Africa. Credit: Getty Images) // bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p088lrb5