Ugandan epidemiologist, Dr. Okech Ojony Joa
Epidemiologist Advises Ebola Survivors To Use Condoms During Sex
By Richard Baysah, LINA Margibi County Correspondent
KAKATA, October 1 (LINA) - A Ugandan epidemiologist, Dr. Okech Ojony Joa, has cautioned Ebola survivors to always use condoms during sex as the virus will remain active in their semen for up to 90 days after discharge from hospital.
Dr. Joa said it was unfortunate that this aspect of Ebola survival, which is abstaining from sex or the use of condom, is not being highlighted in Ebola messages by health authorities in the country.
He said if survivors don’t use condoms during sex, it could be difficult to break the chain of transmission and contain the virus.
The Liberia News Agency reports that Dr. Joa made the statement at the UNMIL Field office in Kakata recently during the visit of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative to Liberia, Madam Karin Landgren.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joa has said that survivors of the Ebola virus are very important to society and should “be seen as heroes that have survived the test of time.”
He said instead of stigmatizing survivors whenever they are reintegrated into their respective communities, “they should be encouraged to be advocates in helping to provide basic life-saving strategies that community members will apply for their own safety.”
Dr. Joa further stressed that the driving force behind the reason to openly embrace survivors is that they can be used to educate others by telling them that Ebola is real, and that they must take seriously the preventive measures to curtail the transmission of the deadly virus.
He also said the blood of the Ebola survivors is essential to the treatment of other Ebola victims as experience has shown that when it is transfused into very sick Ebola patients, they would start to recover from the disease within 24 hours.
The Ugandan doctor advised that following the survival of these Ebola victims, government should provide survival kits and psycho-social counseling to them.
He said in the absence of strong psycho-social counseling and the provision of survival kits, these survivors might find it difficult to cope as their personal effects would have to be burnt in keeping with required infection control measures by health authorities.
Recounting the experience of Uganda during the many outbreaks of the Ebola virus, he said his government provided “very strong psycho-social counseling and survival kits that helped victims to regain their sense of direction and belonging after the incident.”