A pandemic which could be caused by an unusual form of African lassa fever has seen tens of thousands of infections in the past few months, and thousands of deaths, as health officials rush to react to the outbreak which has been dubbed “the Great Resignation” of Nigeria’s health care system.
Odeyemi Olatunji, Deputy Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, a teaching hospital on Lagos Island and one of the few centers that has been accepting patients with the dangerous Ebola virus, said his hospital had been overwhelmed.
“It is common now that they are coming from far and near to the hospital, even from areas where they don’t know where this disease is…. We are overwhelmed, and in most cases we don’t have the staff to accommodate those patients and that makes the situation very difficult,” he said.
In reality, only the hospital on Lagos Island is taking in patients of the much-delayed illness, which was first reported in September 2017, sparking panic and strains among its most vulnerable patients, in a country that has almost no Ebola treatment facilities.
The crisis in Lagos has re-ignited the debate over which health care facilities is ready to handle any outbreaks of deadly diseases like Ebola, and why.