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Just when Malagasy health officials believed they were getting the upper hand against the plague epidemic that’s killed nearly 200, things just went from bad to much worse in Madagascar.
In an extensive report penned by Sally Hayden of The Irish Times, an unknown number of patients infected with the pneumonic plague (bubonic plague’s much deadlier cousin), have taken it upon themselves to “escape” from hospitals for fear of the stigma that comes attached to victims of the disease.
City - Souls - Antananarivo - Area - Madagascar
In the city of nearly nine million souls, Antananarivo is the largest and most populated metropolitan area in Madagascar, officially known as the Malagasy Republic. And within the city locally known simply as “Tana”, there are six separate hospitals that are treating those infected with a particular strain of the plague that from the moment of first contact can kill within 24-hours.
As reporter Hayden noted from the grounds of the city’s Central Anti-Plague Hospital Ambohimindra;
Time - Epidemic - Dr - Marielle - Zaramisy
“This is the first time it’s an urban epidemic,” says Dr Marielle Zaramisy, the hospital’s chief of medicine, speaking in her small office from behind a cloth face mask. She’s been working in the hospital for just a month and a half, since the height of the crisis. Her family are worried about her safety. “As a human I’m afraid but I’m following all the precautions. It’s my job.”
Visitors must wear masks covering their mouths at all times. Before entering, shoe soles are sprayed with disinfectant and your temperature is taken with a handheld thermometer. The guards on the door oversee this process, but they also have a more important job to make sure patients don’t escape. At least one inmate got away in October, making it all the way home before doctors forced him back into an ambulance. There have been many other attempts, Zaramisy says. “Some escaped...
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