Ebola Isolation Ward at Souillac Hospital: Inhabitants Protesting In Fear

The isolation ward for Ebola patients set up in the hospital of Souillac has raised many an eyebrow. While no case of the disease has been recorded in the island, the Ministry of Health still went forward with the drastic preventive measures, given the difficulties entailed in dealing with the disease. However, inhabitants of the village are not pleased to have the isolation ward in their vicinity – they fear lest an epidemic breaks out in their region if infected people are brought to the hospital.

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With a view to protecting the Mauritian population from the Ebola virus that is currently wreaking havoc in West Africa, the Minister of Health included in the strategy of preventive measures an isolation ward in the hospital of Souillac. The new ward will cater for any Ebola patient, or one suspected to carry the virus in his system in order to prevent the propagation of the disease. Until now, no such case has been detected in the country. Even if Mauritius is relatively safe from the outbreak of the virus, measures of precaution are still being taken, specially so because there exists no medication or vaccine for the disease.

The decision of setting up an isolation ward in Souillac has, however, displeased many: mainly some of the inhabitants of the village. The latter freaked out when the news was proclaimed of a special wing to be dedicated to people likely to have the virus in their system. The local people of Souillac fear lest the virus spreads in their village if patients were to be kept in isolation in the hospital. They have condemned the actions of the ministry in relation to this decision, arguing that they were not even consulted before its implementation. They now wish to raise their voices for their arguments to be taken into consideration.

The village councilors have sent a letter to the Ministry of Health, copies of which were also posted to the deputees of the constituency and to the District Council of Savanne. The inhabitants of Souillac justified their opposition by discussing the nature of the disease: a disease which is challenging to contain. They put forward that the isolation ward should have been placed in an uninhabited region like Poudre-d’Or, instead of a village like Souillac, where the Ebola virus might propagate to all and sundry.

Furthermore, they have spoken out against the fact that the Ministry of Health did not communicate the idea to the other authorities of the village. The numerous questions running in their minds include whether or not the ward is well-equipped in terms of security.

As for the Ministry of Health, it has explained its choice on the grounds that the hospital of Souillac is the one nearest to the airport, thereby limiting the time of travel from the latter to the isolation ward. In this way, they attempted to decrease the risk of having the virus spread to other regions.

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