“Use of amiodarone heart drug at Lakka centre in Freetown deemed ‘reckless’ by scientist as 14 medical staff withdraw over safety fears
Ebola patients at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone have been given a heart drug that is untested against the virus in animals and humans, a move that has been deemed reckless by one senior scientist and has prompted UK medical staff at the centre to leave.
A 14-strong team of British doctors, nurses and paramedics stopped working at the Lakka treatment centre in Freetown because of their concerns over what they considered the experimental and potentially dangerous use of the drug, and other safety issues.
The 22-bed treatment centre is run by Emergency, an Italian NGO set up by heart surgeon Gino Strada to bring world-class cardiac surgery to some of the poorest parts of Africa.
Emergency says it wants to give patients the standard of care they would get in Europe, both at its Ebola treatment centre (ETC) at Lakka and at a new 100-bed centre at Goderich in Freetown, built by the British army and funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).
But UK volunteers sent to work in Lakka in late November felt Emergency’s approach was too ambitious and may have contributed to a death rate higher than at some other centres.
By Frank Laughter — November, 2002
Most WHO employees are natives of the countries in which they work. UN organizations enter a country by making arrangements with government officials — i.e., Ministers of Health — and the government officials hire native employees with funds provided by the UN.
The people in Central Africa are well aware that WHO gets most of its funding from the U.S. even though the money is funneled through the UN. Also, it is routine for the NIH/CDC to send experts to help with complicated matters involving nutrition, health, and disease prevention, i.e., vaccinations for measles, whooping cough, polio, and research-treatment for HIV.
KIHURA NKUBA’S CASE
As mentioned, Kihura’s radio stations reached a lot of people in Central Africa. About the only other sources of information were government controlled TV-radio outlets and contact with workers from the NGO’s. (NGO’s are “non-government organization’s” such as UNICEF, WHO, and the Red Cross.)
Kihura is well educated; smart; has a large extended family; and was very successful with his communications empire. He is also an author with an inquisitive mind.
At some point about 1997 he became curious about the vaccines used in Central Africa and looked into the label for the Sabin oral polio vaccine being administered to children in Uganda. He has no biology or medical training, so he was surprised to see that the vaccine contained “live” polio virus.
After further research he learned that:
In 1997 the U.S. had stopped using the Sabin live vaccine in the U.S.
The French company that manufactures the vaccine administered by WHO told Kihura that the vaccine should NOT be administered to anyone with HIV. In fact, the company said, the risk is so great it should not be administered to family members of those with HIV, or to intimate contacts of people with HIV.
The Sabin live oral vaccine could spread polio to those not already vaccinated if contact were made within the first week or so after the vaccine had been administered. The virus could spread through saliva, nasal mucous, or when a diaper is being changed.
For years, WHO has targeted children for the vaccine. Adults could wait because polio risks diminish with age…more