This morning, Barbara, Martin and I set off for Luebo. The road is much better than it used to be. Martin has had hundreds of people levelling the road from Kampungu to Luebo, so now it is a mainly flat sandy track. It’s not nearly as exciting as it was!
Our objective was to find out if we could create an isolation unit in each of the hospitals in Luebo. Luebo is split into two areas divided by the river - north and south - and apparently there is not much love lost between the two.
We started at the district hospital in the south. They have had a couple of patients in their isolation unit, the last of which died on Saturday. We had a look around to see if we could turn a corridor into a changing area and a couple of small rooms into isolation wards. It shouldn’t be too difficult with a lot of drums of chlorinated water at strategic points and some dressing and disinfection areas.
Just outside one of the wards was a pile of syringes and other waste that had obviously just been thrown out of the window. One of our other tasks will to be to safely dispose of this and set up a waste management system for the isolation unit.
Then we drove back across the river to the Protestant hospital in the northern area. The first thing I saw was a large clock tower with the remains of a clock. Rather surprising. I wonder when that last chimed.
The hospital buildings are made of brick and have wrap-around verandas and corrugated iron roofs. Unfortunately most of them are in a sad state of repair and have had their windows blocked up. The Centre for Diseases Control (from Atlanta) are trying to set up a laboratory in the hospital in order to be able test samples for Ebola on site. It is going to be a very high level facility and when we visited they were putting duct tape around the doorframes so that they could make a completely sealed room.
The room that we are considering turning into an isolation unit is not very inspiring. It is black inside – perhaps they have had had fires in there. It would be quite some work to set something up. We have to decide what to do.