Positive Outcomes for Some Ebola Patients, But the Scourge Continues

MSF experts provide in-house training in Brussels to MSF staff volunteering for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Because Ebola is highly contagious, the main priority is training health staff to reduce the risk of catching the disease while caring for patients. Staff treating patients suffering from the disease must wear personal protective equipment to prevent transmission. MSF is carrying in-house training for other NGO's
N'gadi Ikram
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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is scaling up Ebola operations as the outbreak in West Africa continues to spread and a new outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has begun. The international response to the outbreak is still inadequate and MSF is overwhelmed by the needs. For example, in its first week, MSF’s new Ebola management center in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, was already at capacity with 120 patients, and an expansion is underway. To try to meet the needs, MSF is also training its own staff, as well as staff working with other non-governmental organizations, in Europe before they fly out to various projects.  

The outbreak is spreading rapidly in Monrovia, overwhelming the few medical facilities accepting Ebola patients. Much of the city’s medical system has shut down over fears of the virus among staff members and patients, leaving many people with no healthcare at all, generating an emergency within the emergency. MSF is rapidly scaling up its operations in Liberia as the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to be chaotic and entirely inadequate. In its first week, MSF’s ebola management centre – also known as ELWA3 – in the capital Monrovia, is already at capacity with 120 patients, and a further expansion is underway. The centre has eight tents, each with 15 beds, in separate sections for suspected and confirmed Ebola patients. On site, MSF is preparing for further construction and to erect three larger tents with space for 40 beds each. The team is planning to admit patients in these tents in the coming week. (MSF caption)
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MSF experts provide in-house training in Brussels to MSF staff volunteering for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Because Ebola is highly contagious, the main priority is training health staff to reduce the risk of catching the disease while caring for patients. Staff treating patients suffering from the disease must wear personal protective equipment to prevent transmission. MSF is carrying in-house training for other NGO's
N'gadi Ikram
MSF experts provide in-house training in Brussels to MSF staff volunteering for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Because Ebola is highly contagious, the main priority is training health staff to reduce the risk of catching the disease while caring for patients. Staff treating patients suffering from the disease must wear personal protective equipment to prevent transmission. MSF is carrying in-house training for other NGO's
N'gadi Ikram
Chief nurse Mary Jo Frawley and nurse Junko Otaki give training to the nurse team in MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun, Sierra Loene.
P.K. Lee/MSF
While taking Lahai back to his home, MSF health promoter Dominic (2nd from left) takes the opportunity to remind people to wash their hands with soap and water frequently and not to touch the bodies of people who have died from Ebola.
P.K. Lee/MSF
Boarding a WFP plane that flies MSF expats (and other NGO staff, such as WHO) from Conakry National Airport to Kissidougou airstrip. As national flight companies refuse to fly in the Ebola infected area, the WFP organizes flights to Kissidougou, Gueckedougou and in the future (as planned) also to Foya (Liberia). The pilots distribute masks and gloves for safety reasons on board.
Martin Zinggl/MSF
Amie (left), 70 years old, Jattu (centre), 26 years old, and her daughter Rosaline, 2 years old, have all recovered from Ebola and are discharged together on 17 Aug 2014.
P.K. Lee/MSF
Hawa, 19 years old, is from Shegbwema, Sierra Leone. Including Hawa, eight people from her husband’s family became infected with Ebola. Three of them have died. She and her husband’s brother are survivors. At the time of writing, her husband is still being cared for in MSF’s centre. Her father-in-law was the first in the family to contract Ebola. He was admitted to a local hospital in Shegbwema, where he later died. When she visited him, a blood sample was being taken from him for a lab test and the blood was splashed on her accidentally. A week later, she started to have fever and headaches. “I was very weak on the first two days. So my sister-in-law brought me to the MSF centre. I can’t remember what exactly happened. I only remember there was a smell of food, but I could not eat. I arrived on Thursday. It wasn’t until Sunday that I realised where I was. I started to think of my daughter and husband. Then two days later my husband was also sick and was sent here.” Luckily their one year old daughter Hellen was not infected. She says it’s frightening knowing that others in nearby tents have died. “When someone dies at the centre, I feel very afraid, and what I can do is just say a prayer.” Hawa has stayed at the centre for more than three weeks and can now finally return home healthy. “Now I am alright, I am strong. There is hope now. I want to see my daughter, I am ready to see my baby. I miss her and I know there is nothing wrong with her. My husband will be at the centre of my mind and my heart. I don’t know how the people from the community will accept me.” After more than 3 hours drive on a muddy road, Hawa finally arrives at her home village with the MSF health promotion team. Dozens of her family members and neighbours come up to the MSF car to welcome her back, chanting “Hawa! Hawa! Hawa!”. As soon as she gets out of the car, one of them immediately hugs her tight. Then another family member carries her little daughter to her. Having not seen her mother for nearly a month, little Hellen seems a bit hesitant and not sure who the person in front of her is. But as soon as Hawa cradles her in her arms and gives her a kiss, the little girl smiles.
P.K. Lee/MSF
Food distribution to the Ebola-confirmed patients in the high risk area. No contact between the staff (wearing PPE) in high risk area and those in the low risk area. High quality nutrition is important to enhance patient’s immune system to fight the virus.
P.K. Lee/MSF
MSF experts provide in-house training in Brussels to MSF staff volunteering for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Because Ebola is highly contagious, the main priority is training health staff to reduce the risk of catching the disease while caring for patients. Staff treating patients suffering from the disease must wear personal protective equipment to prevent transmission. MSF is carrying in-house training for other NGO's
N'gadi Ikram