Times of Oman
Dec 01, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 05:14 PM GMT
Oman hospitals gear up to meet Ebola challenge
August 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
This handout photo taken on August 13, 2014 and released by Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows officials taking part in an exercise at Taoyuan airport outside Taipei, simulating the arrival and isolation of a tourist suspected of carrying the deadly Ebola virus. The drill comes as the Ebola epidemic, the worst since the disease was first discovered four decades ago, has killed 1,013 people since early this year, the World Health Organization said. Photo - AFP

Muscat: In view of the looming threat of Ebola in some parts of the world, private hospitals in Oman are geared up to meet the threat and refer suspected cases, if any, to the hospitals designated by the Ministry of Health.

Private hospitals will abide by the government guidelines which are issued in such situations. These hospitals have urged people to take preventive measures, just as the government is asking all to be vigilant and dump unhealthy practices. However, people in Oman should not be afraid as no case has been detected here.

Talking to the Times of Oman, KO Devassy, group marketing manager of Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, said the group was fully prepared to fulfil the government's guidelines in this regard.

"In terms of facilities and infrastructure, we are equipped to refer such cases to the ministry hospitals, as in the case of communicable disease. We have a team of dedicated medical professionals and world-class laboratories where people can get examined quickly. Even in the past, we have followed ministry guidelines and referred cases to the government hospitals," he said.

Devassy said people should focus on healthy habits in their day-to-day life as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

So far, the country is completely clean as has been officially declared and there is no such threat,  thanks to the government's general health policies.

"We follow strict government guidelines as the private hospitals are one of the important arms in the entire health sector. These guidelines, which we keep receiving from the Ministry of Health, ensure quality health services to the people," he said.

About the procedure of referring suspected cases to the Ministry of Health, Dr Rajagopal T. Naganathan, medical director of Atlas Hospital in Ruwi, said: "Low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes in patients with Ebola-like symptoms must be looked into with suspicion."

He said that no Ebola virus-specific treatment exists. Treatment available is primarily supportive in nature and includes providing fluids, administration of anticoagulants and pro-coagulants, maintaining oxygen levels, pain management, and use of medications to treat bacterial or fungal secondary infections. Early treatment may increase the chances
of survival.

Dr Naganathan also said that precautions have to be taken in such cases. "We have to practise frequent hand washing, proper toilet hygiene, avoid close contact with suspicious cases. It is compulsory that all health workers must use gloves and masks while handling suspicious cases," he said.

He added that it was important for people to take preventive measures. "Ebola is a viral disease. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission.

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

"Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact, through broken skin or mucous membranes, with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids."

The symptoms are sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, lethargy and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, said Dr Naganathan.

He said the facilities at the hospital are sufficient to pinpoint any case of Ebola.

However, it works under strict guidelines of the Ministry of Health and follows all of these.

To get in touch with the reporter faiz@timesofoman.com

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