I person close to me is a surgeon and has worked in numerous countries in the world (with MSF). Some of the accounts I’ve listened to growing up and beyond, of how it’s actually like to work in healthcare in these places beggars belief. In nursing school
many of my professors would frequently go on missions with MSF, the Red Cross and other organizations. Some of my homework was even graded from Thailand (post-tsunami). These teachers would tell us about their experiences and show us pictures from many of the disaster areas they worked in. It was educational, both eye-opening and heart-breaking.
I’ve talked to a healthcare worker who’s recently been working with Ebola victims in Liberia (the person is a physician or nurse, I don’t want to identify the exact profession since it’s a relatively small group of people who’ve recently been there). What all these people have in common is that they paint a picture that’s so alien to those of us, who’ve only worked under more organized conditions. Regarding this current outbreak, the international response so far hasn’t been close to meeting the needs of this still worsening crisis and those actually working on site are angered, saddened and frustrated with the situation.
I’m absolutely not surprised that the Ebola outbreak is still spreading. The resources available in West Africa have so far been woefully inadequate. Healthcare staff are completely overwhelmed. People infected with the Ebola virus don’t get the care they so desperately need, nor are they being isolated in order to protect those who haven’t yet been infected. Since the facilities many times have no available space to treat them, sick people are sent back home or somewhere else, lessening their chance of survival and dramatically increasing the risk of further spread in the community.
If you read the blog entry from Thimbalina’s link titled “Eyes” on September 1 and “Ebola-iculous” on September 3 it’s pretty clear why the situation isn’t optimal for containment of this outbreak, and how Healthcare workers there are very much at risk.
(Somewhat of a tangent, I’m not overly impressed by this doctor’s way of quoting how the locals speak (English), but I do deeply admire the work he and other healthcare professionals do in this part of the world).