Saturday, September 27, 2014

MSF Video: Physician Assistant Talks About Ebola Crisis in Liberia

Speaking from Monrovia via live video link, Liberian Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) physician's assistant Jackson Niamah addresses the UN Security Council during an emergency session on the Ebola crisis in West Africa.  Here is the Text of his address

Also, Pierre Trbovic, an anthropologist from Belgium working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), arrived in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, in late August 2014 to help with MSF’s response to the Ebola epidemic.

An Impossible Choice
MSF has mobilized all available resources to combat the spread of the disease and opened a host of case management centers in affected countries. But given the mounting caseload and the failure of the international community to launch the sort of massive, coordinated response that’s needed to prevent more misery, teams have been forced into the brutal position of having to turn away patients who clearly need care. Trbovic saw firsthand how overwhelmed health staff were as sick people were queuing in the street, and he found himself taking on the heart-wrenching job of turning people away.

For the first three days that I stood at the gate, it rained hard. People were drenched, but they carried on waiting because they had nowhere else to go.

The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He was an educated man, and he pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that while he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her. At that point I had to go behind one of the tents to cry. I wasn’t ashamed of my tears, but I knew I had to stay strong for my colleagues; if we all started crying, we’d really be in trouble.

Read Trbovic's piece dated Sept. 10, 2014, entitled Ebola: Impossible Choices in Liberia

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