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Showing posts from October, 2014

Another African Tyrant Pushed Out: Campaore Finally Resigns

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After two major days of violent protests, Burkina Faso's 27 year dictator Blaise Campaore who was notorious for sponsoring rebel movements in neighboring countries has been pushed to resign. Campaore who has ruled Burkina Faso since 1987 when Capt. Thomas Sankara was overthrown in a bloody coup, has had a largely uncontested challenge to his leadership since the late 80s by taking absolute control of all national institutions, including the police and the military.

Campaore's political demise came from moves to change the country's constitution allowing himself to rule for another five year term. The people of Burkina Faso, tired of his dictatorship, had rallied behind the opposition's call to protest against the proposed changes. Yesterday October 30, 2014, protesters had set the country's parliament ablaze and also torched the houses of many parliamentarians before heading for the President's abode where they were repelled by troops loyal to him.
Campaore, feel…

My Friday Listening

Blaise Campaore's Constitutional Tactics and Lessons for Sierra Leone

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In 1987, Blaise Campaore, the current President of Burkina Faso came to power in what is now widely regarded as one of the most unpopular military coups in the history of Africa. On the fateful day of October 15 1987, the young Pan-Africanist revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso, Capt. Thomas Sankara, who had for four years ruled the country once called Upper Volta, which he had renamed Burkina Faso, was executed in mysterious circumstances. His childhood friend and co-revolutionary Blaise Campaore succeeded him in what many now describe as one of the most heinous political betrayals to ever occur on the African continent. Thomas Sankara was a revolutionary, a theorist, a poet and a soldier.

The young Sankara in those days was like a bright lamp in a dark room. An African leader in the 80s who believed that true African development would not come from a reliance on loans and handouts from institutions like the IMF or the World Bank, but by the African people growing more self reliant a…

Keeping Up the Daily Ebola Challenge

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Before the Ebola virus crossed the Atlantic, many health experts and some of us were worried that it would just be a brief cable news item that would occupy the world's attention span until the next big event. Our cash strapped and unprepared West African governments would then be left to deal with the deadly crisis with the help of a few volunteer organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Samaritan's Purse and some volunteer religious medical missions. We were afraid that ISIS or Boko Haram would do something crazy and the world would forget about Ebola.
Many of us have in various ways tried to call the world's attention to this deadly plague, this Ebola virus. However, with the first reported case in America and subsequent infection of two unfortunate nurses, and a situation that is now on the verge of getting out of control in our poorly equipped countries, the world is now responding in very positive ways.
Just the past week we learnt of British plans to deploy over …

Nigerian Doctor Recalls Her Grim Experience with Ebola: By Dr. Ida Igonoh

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Reproduced from The Cable
On the night of Sunday July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer was wheeled into the Emergency Room at First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende, Lagos, with complaints of fever and body weakness. The male doctor on call admitted him as a case of malaria and took a full history. Knowing that Mr Sawyer had recently arrived from Liberia, the doctor asked if he had been in contact with an Ebola patient in the last couple of weeks, and Mr. Sawyer denied any such contact. He also denied attending any funeral ceremony recently. Blood samples were taken for full blood count, malaria parasites, liver function test and other baseline investigations. He was admitted into a private room and started on anti-malarial drugs and analgesics. That night, the full blood count result came back as normal and not indicative of infection. The following day however, his condition worsened. He barely ate any of his meals. His liver function test result showed his liver enzymes were markedly elev…

My Daily Four Mile Ebola Challenge

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I have been sitting here, in my quiet time, thinking about this horrible Ebola virus rampaging existence in my country of birth Sierra Leone. Two days ago another beloved brother James Jajua from my hometown Segbwema, a nurse with over 25 years experience in medical - surgical nursing and Lassa Fever management and a family man had his life cut short by this horrible disease.
James Jajua, Matilda Koroma,  Aminata Baimba,  Aminata Jajua,  Joe Nallo, Idrissa Magbity, Mrs. Fonnie,  Alice Kovoma. These are all people I knew personally growing up in Segbwema. To some people Ebola victims are statistical figures. To me they are flesh and blood.
Alice Kovoma was the fiancee of one of my best friends and mentor, Mohamed Mustapha,  aka "Rasta." She was such a stunning beauty that we use to tell Rasta that he was simply the luckiest man in the world. She became a nurse after high school and later went to work for Lassa Fever Research Project. She died in Kenema after exposure to Eb…

Robin Fallay Calls for Closure of Historic Segbwema Nixon Memorial Hospital

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Before the civil war in Sierra Leone Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema, which was opened in the 1930s was the best hospital in Eastern Sierra Leone. The Methodist Mission run hospital had medical and surgical units and a training school for State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHN). It was later the home of the sophisticated CDC sponsored, Lassa Fever Research Project. Nixon hospital also had an eye clinic, a leprosy ward and a tuberculosis treatment facility.

In the 80s when I was in Segbwema, Dr. Austin Demby, who is now a virologist with the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was the director of the Lassa Fever Research Project located in the hospital. 

A lot of the best science students who graduated from university in that area before the Sierra Leone civil war found jobs at the Lassa Fever research lab. Nixon was such an excellent hospital that it treated patients from as far away as Mali and Liberia. I remember our family playing host to many of our relatives from …