Stories from Quick Reads and Health
At the estuary of Moche river in the northern Peruvian province of Trujillo, members of the NGO Corazones Bondadosos (Generous Hearts) fed more than 400 pelicans with fresh fish to prevent their starvation.
— Jota Rosado (@jotarosadol) septiembre 7, 2014
Collective ‘Corazones Bondadosos’ (Generous Hearts) feeds pelicans in Trujillo. Noble gesture. They ask authorities to support them.
— laindustria.pe (@weblaindustria) septiembre 1, 2014
Dead pelicans are a health hazard.
In late August, about 120 dead pelicans were buried at the beach Las Delicias, located in the same area. They were buried six feet under the sand and then covered with lime to prevent potential illnesses.
The Ebola Truth is a Facebook page that aims to document the situation with the Ebola virus on the African continent.
On August 19, 2014, the Republic of Cameroon closed its borders with Nigeria in a bid to halt the spread of the Ebola virus. However, the government made this decision without giving enough thought to the thousands of travelers – mostly Cameroonian citizens and Nigerians resident in Cameroon – caught on the wrong side of the border. Consequently, many of these travelers ended being trapped on the Cameroon/Nigeria border for days, in appalling conditions, while waiting to be screened for the Ebola virus before being allowed back into Cameroon.
Batuo's Blog published the first-person narrative of Patricia Temeching, one of the travelers who was trapped on the Cameroon/Nigeria border for over 40 hours:
I go through Nigerian security checks and my passport is grudgingly returned to me. I walk across the bridge. The Cameroonian side of the bridge is crowded, as is the police/customs post that is perched three meters away from the end of the bridge… When I inquire why there are so many people on the bridge a miserable-looking woman replies, “We are waiting for the medical team to screen us for Ebola before we can go into Cameroon…”
‘How long have you been waiting?’ I ask.
“Fifteen hours. I came yesterday just after the medical team had left.”
I join the throng of people on the bridge and we wait and wait. Hunger and anger consume me. All I have in my travelling bag are a few clothes and my academic papers. By evening more and more people have joined us and we are all crowded on the bridge and in the small police post building, where we spend the night on our feet. The stench of urine and faeces emanating from the back of the building combines with the unhealthy sweat from two hundred unwashed bodies and leaves a nauseating sickening feeling in the air.
In the morning we receive information that the medical team will arrive soon. We are all looking forward to it. By noon nothing has happened…
This afternoon, after I have spent 24 hours at the border post, we are allowed to trek to Ekok town. It is a trek an Ebola patient will certainly not survive. We pay boys to carry our bags. When we reach Ekok town we are bundled into an empty building with no lights, no toilet facilities and no beds. This it to be our accommodation until the medical team arrives. Finally the “medical team” arrives. It is the doctor from Eyumojock. We go through the “screening”. This is how it happens: Eau de Javel [bleach] is poured into water. We file in and wash our hands. We also wash our mouths. Then you are cleared.
Once I am cleared (at 10 p.m.), I leave the ‘quarantine’ building and go to look for a hotel. I find a run-down inn and finally crawl into a sorry-looking bed with tired sheets. After spending forty hours on my feet this bed feels like a king’s bed. I sleep the sleep of the dead.
This is my greatest worry: What if one person among us (two hundred travellers) actually came with Ebola from Nigeria? The chances are we might all have become contaminated in the past fifty hours from being held promiscuously together, and we would now be taking the virus to two hundred different Cameroonian families.
The curtain has just come down on the tenth “Positive and Winning Africa Oscars”, held at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé, the political capital of Cameroon. This year, the event organised by the NGO “Positive and Winning Africa” rewarded Cameroonian Clément Petsoko for his innovating healthcare projects. For a decade now, sponsor Hervé Mba and a jury made up of a dozen public figures to award prizes to African personalities whose innovative projects could help the progress of the African continent.
The Golden Oscar for Man of the Decade was presented to Clément Petsoko, PDG of the Morgan and Wilfried laboratories. The jury rewarded Petsoko for “his capacity to overcome the numerous difficulties he has faced in recent years”. As he was awarded his prize, the happy winner stated:
Je voudrais que mon prix serve d’enseignement à la jeunesse du monde qui doit intégrer dans son vécu quotidien le dicton qui selon lequel : « le pont qui mène au succès est fragile » et qu’il faille allier courage, abnégation et détermination dans l’atteinte de ses objectifs.
I want my prize to serve as a lesson to young people around the world, who should remember the saying “it's a rocky road to success,” and that achieving your aims requires courage, self-sacrifice and determination.
Some months ago, on her blog Anchas Alamedas, blogger Solentiname started to share the different stages she's gone through, since the moment she found a lump in her breast. On her latest blogpost, she writes to someone she calls Mimí and she tells her how she felt after the surgery she experienced few weeks ago. She tells Mimi about her feelings, doubts, pains and joys:
No te preocupés porque no me ha dolido nada. Ha sido incómodo, pero cuando uno se salva de una cosa de esas, entrega endosado el derecho de quejarse, ¿verdad? Me siento casi obligada a la felicidad absoluta, a la perspectiva, al esto es preferible a un cáncer. [...] Y resulta, además, que yo no sé bien cómo sentirme. No me siento sobreviviente de cáncer, no siento que tengo derecho a ese título. [...] He pensado en tomarle la palabra a todas las personas que me han dicho que les dejara saber si podían hacer algo por mí y decirles que sÍ: que le paguen a todas sus empleadas una mamografía, que hagan una campaña, que salven así aunque sea una vida.
Don't worry, this didn't hurt at all. It has been uncomfortable, but when you manage to overcome something like this, you give up the right to complain, right? I feel almost forced to absolute happiness, to perspective, to the this is better than cancer. [...] And besides that, I don't know how to feel anymore. I don't feel as if I survived cancer, I don't feel entitled to the label of survivor. [...] I've thought of taking at their word to everyone that asked me to let them know if they could do something for me and I will tell them yes: pay a mammogram to each of your female workers, make a campaign, save at least one life.
She ends up saying:
No sobreviví a nada Mimí. No siento que la vida me esté dando una segunda oportunidad de nada. No me siento con una misión en la vida. No me siento especial, diferente, escogida. No me siento distinta.
I am not survivor at all, Mimí. I don't feel life is giving me a second chance of anything. I don't feel I have a mission in life. I don't feel special, different nor chosen. I don't feel I'm distinct.
A blog, ‘Kórházi koszt‘, was launched over the summer of 2014 in Hungary, exposing the poor quality and small rations of food in Hungarian hospitals.
The blog rose from the outrage among Hungarians who stayed at hospitals and received not only small portions of food, but often cheap and “disgusting” meals. The blog's Facebook page gathered almost 6000 followers within just weeks. In the meantime, Buzzfeed listed pictures of 22 hospital meals served in different countries, making Hungarian netizens envious of the quality of food served there.
— Vaintche Rahouli (@vincraholi) August 28, 2014
Twitter and Facebook users from Madagascar's capital city, Antananarivo, have posted several photos of locusts invading the city. Locust invasions are not unusual in Madagascar, especially after tropical storms, but they are very uncommon in larger cities. Locusts can have a devastating effect on crops, especially in a country that has struggled with bouts of famine in past years.
Nigeria's Health Minster, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, recently announced that Ebola though not “totally eliminated”, has been successfully curtailed. Nigeria has only one case of Ebola currently. According to Onyebuchi, as quoted by TheCable:
“As of today [August 26, 2014], Nigeria has 13 cases of Ebola virus disease. That is including the index case – the late Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer. Five did not survive, however two more Nigerian patients have been discharged. Both of them health workers, were discharged yesterday. This brings the number of those discharged now to seven. As I speak to you Nigeria has only one case of Ebola virus. This is thus far an indication that Nigeria has contained the virus.”
During the current crisis of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), many reports showcased stories about patients, medical staff, vaccines and the consequences of the disease on the affected countries. But rare are the reports about the daily work of laboratory technicians and of those who care for their daily needs. In a post on buzzfeed.com entitled The Hidden Heroes Of Liberia’s Ebola Crisis, Jina Moore tells the story of these key people in fighting the Ebola virus in Liberia:
Catherine Jeejuah starts so early these days that she doesn’t know the time. It’s irrelevant. She rises when it’s dark, lights a fire, and boils rice and greens for her two kids. By about 6:30 a.m., when light begins leaking through the windows, she leaves for a nearby school.
Here, she does it all again, at a greater scale. Jeejuah, 30, and two other women, all volunteers, are cooking for 12 of the most important, but invisible, people in Liberia right now.
The dozen meals are meant for the team of technicians that tests the blood of suspected Ebola patients. They visit sick peoples’ homes and overwhelmed Ebola treatment centers, sticking needles in the veins of physically unpredictable, highly contagious people. They then drive their blood back to Liberia’s only medical lab, more than an hour from the capital of Monrovia.
Thus far, no-one in Cuba has contracted the deadly Ebola virus and the government wants to keep it that way. Havana Times reports on “increased control measures to prevent the possible introduction of Ebola into Cuba”, adding that The Ministry of Public Health and other supporting agencies are being extra vigilant with monitoring any visitors arriving from high-risk countries.