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We are struggling to stay afloat, First Consultant CMD recounts experience since hospital was reopened

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The Chief Medical Director of the First Consultant Hospital where the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Nigeria, says as an organization, they are struggling to float after reopening for business last month. In an interview with Tribune yesterday, Dr Benjamin Ohiaeri said himself, his staff and their families still face firsthand stigmatization even after being certified free of the Ebola virus
“Since re-opening, we have witnessed firsthand what it means to be stigmatized. At a time when you would think we would be appreciated for our professionalism in containing Ebola, we are enduring a significant depletion in patient-turn up. We are down on numbers by a factor of about 90%. But for the generosity of friends and family, Aledo Peterside, Tunde Ayeni, Diamond Bank, etc., this business would have collapsed. Even now, we are struggling to stay afloat. It has been very tough indeed.”
“The loss of Dr Adadevoh, Dr Abaniwo, Evelyn Uko and Ejelonu, four key members of our team, the first two of who were the most senior of our medics and members of the Hospital Executive Committee, has been hard. They were colleagues, they were family. We are talking of a lifetime of working as a close team – as confidantes, as family. So, yes it’s been very tough. As well as our fallen heroes, we have many of the survivors here. Medics, who placed their lives on the line to avoid Ebola spreading to the general public; they suffered the trauma of threats to their lives and the horror of rejection, in many cases, simply because they once had Ebola. The families of our people have suffered horrendous victimisation too. Children of the dead hounded out of rented homes just when they needed compassion; the husband of a sufferer thrown out of his job simply because the employer learned of his wife’s condition. The pain, the suffering, the horror goes on and on. Still, our people are back at work, doing what they do best – caring for the ill. For the hospital, we are inching back to life. As you know, the place was shut down for nearly three months while it was decontaminated by the WHO. So, our business was essentially shut in all that time, though our expenses, salaries, among others, continued to run” he said.

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