HOSPITAL patients suffering from the plague are running away from hospitals because they are scared of needles and aren’t used to hospital treatment.
Security guards at the Central Anti-Plague Hospital in Ambohimindra, Madagascar, are tasked with keeping patients in as well as making sure those arriving follow safety procedures.
Officials at the hospital say the main reason why patients run away is that they are scared of needles and don’t have much experience of hospitals.
Jean Benoit Manhes, the deputy representative of Unicef, told the Irish Times: “Some escaped because they’re afraid of needles. People here are not used to the hospital.
“The problem of plague is not just a medical response. You can have hospitals but if people don’t come it isn’t enough.”
Such incidents have prompted fears that the plague could spread even further with each confirmed case requiring 20 people have been in contact with to be treated as a precaution.
Malagasy people have also been told not to carry out their traditional burial tradition of Famidihana which involves digging up their dead relatives every seven years.
It means ‘turning the bones’ and sees families cleaning the remains, rewrapping them and reburying them while other family members perform a special dance.
The African island’s government has told citizens to pause the tradition for fear the plague bacteria is still active in the corpses and can be spread to the living.
Plague victims who are successfully treated also face stigma when they return home to their communities.
Dr Marielle Zaramisy, the hospital’s chief of medicine, said: “Some people are ashamed once they get out of here.
“They don’t know can they go out at night, they don’t want to tell their boss because he won’t hug them anymore.”