Another Sierra Leonean doctor has died from Ebola, the 10th to succumb to the disease, health officials confirmed this weekend.
Dr. Aiah Solomon Konoyeima’s death on Saturday, as confirmed by Brima Kargbo, the country’s chief medical officer, came just a day after two other Sierra Leonean doctors died from Ebola.
Konoyeima worked at a children’s hospital in the capital Freetown and tested positive for Ebola about two weeks ago.
He was treated at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center, which is staffed exclusively by Sierra Leone medical personnel, as compared to many other treatment units, which are run by international organizations or employ some foreign staff.
In total, 11 Sierra Leonean have contracted Ebola but only one has survived, a far higher fatality rate than the WHO’s overall estimate of 60-70 percent case fatality in the current outbreak.
On Saturday, a branch of the country’s medical association representing junior physicians met with President Ernest Bai Koroma and asked him to make sure the necessary life-saving equipment was available to treat doctors.
The “caretakers’ disease”
Because Ebola is transmitted through the bodily fluids of the sick and dead, it is sometimes referred to as the “caretakers’ disease”.
According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, more than 600 health workers have been infected in this outbreak, more than half of whom have died.
Health workers in Sierra Leone and Liberia have repeatedly gone on strike over unsafe working conditions and unpaid hazard bonuses.
Last month, an estimated 400 health workers went on strike at the only Ebola treatment center in south Sierra Leone to protest unpaid risk allowances, allotted to the workers for their hazardous working conditions.
Burial workers have also gone on strike in the Sierra Leonean city of Kenema over non-payment of allowances and left 15 bodies outside the main hospital in protest last week.
As of Dec. 3, Ebola had infected more than 17,500 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of those, about 6,200 have died. It is currently spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.