Dar es Salaam. A Tanzanian nurse who went to Liberia to take part in post-Ebola recovery programmes has quarantined herself for 21 days in a hotel room in Korogwe District after arriving from Monrovia on Wednesday.
Ms Loveness Isojick, 28, who is an employee with the Korogwe District Hospital, made the decision because there were no facilities set aside to quarantine people returning from Ebola treatment camps in West Africa.
She said she feared that joining her family and shaking hands with relatives and friends in the next three weeks could put Tanzanians at risk of the infection in case it turned out that she was indeed carrying the Ebola virus.
“One person can infect six others. I might be putting my family and the entire nation at risk if I ignore this precaution,” Ms Isojick, who had previously worked in Sierra Leone before she went to Liberia for the post-Ebola programmes, told The Citizen in an exclusive interview.
“I know I haven’t handled patients directly this time, but being quarantined for at least 21 days is a standard precaution for anyone who has been working in Ebola camps in West Africa.
“The organisation that sponsored my programme in Liberia has asked me to monitor my temperature and report to them in case the Ministry of Health does not have the necessary measures in place,” Ms Isojick said.
“They (the sponsors) promised to evacuate me immediately in case I develop Ebola-like symptoms.”
Ms Isojick was told upon her arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport to fill in a special medical form, which was reportedly sent to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for further action.
“I guess the airport authorities must have informed the government immediately. I’ve also been asked to notify the district medical officer in Korogwe,” she said.
But the Health and Social Welfare ministry said yesterday it had not received any official communication about Ms Isojick and her self-quarantine. “We don’t have any report about the nurse. I’m hearing it from you for the first time,” ministry spokesperson Nsachris Mwamwaja told The Citizen.
In another development, the government is expected to brief the media about the arrival of five Tanzanians doctors who went to Liberia under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
The Citizen has been reliably informed that they came back home about two months ago.
“Those who were part of the AU mission underwent special procedures and we followed all precautions according to World Health Organisation protocols,” said Mr Mwamwaja without specifying the procedures.
“They are all in the country and the government will hold a news conference any time and brief the media about their arrival. We will also thank them for representing the country in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” he added.