In the latest development concerning Sierra Leone’s top doctor, the report is that he died of Ebola last Thursday. Victor Willoughby was brought back to the country for an experimental Ebola drug treatment. He contracted the diseases last week following the treatment of a high ranking bank official who suffered from an organ disorder. It was later found out that the patient was infected by Ebola and died from the disease.
The experimental drug, ZMab, arrived by Brussels Airlines flight in a frozen state but Willoughby died before it could thaw completely, chief medical officer Brima Kargbo said.
According to the World Health Organization, there are now 12 doctors who have been infected by the virus, eleven of which have died, including Willoughby. There are also 142 health workers who contracted the disease, 109 of which died.
Sierra Leone and its neighboring West African countries Liberia and Guinea are at the center of Ebola outbreak which is considered the worst in the world’s history. Sierra Leone has the highest recorded number of victims which accounts for more than fifty percent of the 18,603 recorded cases.
WHO reported, this was last Wednesday, that as of Dec. 14 the number of deaths was now at 6,915. At the same they said that the deaths in Sierra Leone appeared to have tapered off.
The death of Willoughby and the country’s only virologist Dr Shek Humar Khan are such a terrible incidents, according to Kargbo.
“We all looked up to Dr Willoughby and would consult him on many issues relating to our medical profession,” Kargbo said.
Last Wednesday, Sierra Leone’s Ebola treatment centers were jam-packed with patients as health workers raked the country’s capital, Freetown, for Ebola victims. The government ordered a crackdown in order to control the epidemic.
Dr M’Baimba Baryoh, a surgeon at Connaught hospital Freetown who was Dr. Willoughby’s “very good friend”, said Sierra Leone needs more foreign health workers as local health personnel were already stretched beyond capacity.
“We’ve lost personal friends and colleagues we’ve worked with. It’s extremely depressing and frustrating. You can talk to someone today and tomorrow they are Ebola-infected,” he said.
“The tension, the depression, it’s a lot of pressure. You start having nightmares because of Ebola.”