Doctors and Nurses Risk Everything to Fight Ebola in West Africa
September 1, 2014 12:56 AM   Subscribe

This article talks to doctors and nurses on the front line treating patients in West Africa. It touches on why they take the risk of contracting Ebola, either from patients, or from each other.

What scares her more than Ebola patients, Begue says, is her colleagues: "If someone else is not that careful—if someone makes a mistake and you don't know it, and he doesn't know it, he might give you Ebola."
posted by Admira (16 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Five of the co-authors of this paper just published in Science have already died of Ebola.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:27 AM on September 1, 2014 [13 favorites]

The Sunday Independent had a good article yesterday
“If you could get anything,” he asked her, “what would it be?”
Lado stood in her sweat-stained blue scrubs and thought.
“More people and supplies, she said. “The health-care workers are really scared. This is hard work. We can’t tell them we don’t have enough supplies — to just come to work and later on you’ll have gloves.”
posted by adamvasco at 5:14 AM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm glad the photographs showed some of the local health care workers, who are facing most of the risk and with the least resources. Even MSF's staffing is about 90 percent local. I spent time years ago in a couple of the areas that are currently epic enters of the outbreak, and there is just so little infrastructure. Not just roads and transportation and safe water, but also the basic infrastructure of government that would allow you to respond to an outbreak mostly doesn't exist in areas that still have rebel activity.

It doesn't take a public health expert to know that how bad a true worldwide outbreak would be, and yet we are providing a minuscule level of assistance compared to what we wasted bombing Iraq, say. Morality aside, simple self-preservation would suggest we might be smart to dedicate some more resources to this instead of leaving it to volunteer organizations and local health workers.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on September 1, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you don't have proper protective equipment, trying to help people only spreads the illness.
posted by Renoroc at 8:24 AM on September 1, 2014

This article has more information on the social impacts of the disease and the toll it is taking on the regions health care system. You can donate to MSF here but I agree with the author, there needs to be a humanitarian aid effort at the government level. At least to get supplies to the effected areas.

These people are all heroes, it's amazing that the doctors and nurses are willing to go to work given the lack of protective equipment and facilities.
posted by fshgrl at 8:46 PM on September 1, 2014

What We Know and Don't Know About Ebola's Collateral Damage.
Meanwhile The director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the Ebola outbreak is going to get worse..
To add to the panic and misery Liberian doctors strike, food prices spike as West Africa struggles to contain Ebola outbreak.
at the same time True Death Toll Isn't Known As Many Are Interred Secretly.
posted by adamvasco at 1:10 PM on September 2, 2014

This is all still very terrifying
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:51 PM on September 2, 2014

Global bio-disaster response urgently needed in Ebola fight Medecin sans Frontieres Denounces International Inaction in Ebola-stricken African Countries; States Must Deploy Specialized Medical Assets Now
posted by adamvasco at 6:45 PM on September 2, 2014

The health care providers who take this risk, who work in miserable conditions, are heroes. Words cannot express how much I admire them. Thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 9:09 PM on September 2, 2014

Admiration is all well and good... but if local health-workers are very poorly paid, poorly protected, lack health insurance (whose going to take care of their families if they die?)....some of them, very understandably, are going to begin to feel aggrieved... Liberian public health workers on strike
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:24 PM on September 2, 2014

I posted it while it was still on. Now that it's over, let me reiterate that people are strongly cautioned not to watch that Frontline episode unless they are prepared to see death and desperation.

Near the end they interview several men who volunteered to dig graves because they had all lost two or more immediate family members to Ebola. It was heartrending. The other thing I couldn't get over was the — because of the recent thread about The Stand, what springs to mind is human fuckery — that has spread the story in Liberia that Ebola is a hoax created to steal people's blood or otherwise for the benefit of the powerful.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:08 PM on September 9, 2014

News stories claiming that ebola kills roughly 1/2 of its victims are way off. The actual number is between 80-85%. This explains why:

Also, CIDRAP is now admitting that evidence suggests that ebola is already aerosol-transmissible.
posted by spock at 6:52 AM on September 19, 2014

Guinea health team killed.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:45 PM on September 19, 2014

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