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Courage is not the absence of fear: responding to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

Mobula LM - Glob Health Sci Pract (2014)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: United States Agency for International Development/AAAS S&T Fellow, Washington, DC, USA, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. While in Liberia, with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) of Samaritan's Purse. mmobula@usaid.gov.

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Since the onset of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in February 2014, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 370 health care workers have been infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD), and 216 have since died... During the height of the Ebola epidemic, I had the unique opportunity of working at the Ebola Case Management Center of the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) hospital in Monrovia, Liberia... About a third of all patients with Ebola admitted to ELWA were health care workers... A famous quote from author Ambrose Hollingworth Redmoon (born James Neil Hollingworth) goes: Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear... The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not... In my time serving at ELWA, as more health care workers became infected, fewer reported to duty, leading to a further shortage of personnel... Despite this, I overcame my fears and continued to provide medical care to my patients, which included my own coworkers... Fear of contracting Ebola was compounded by fear for personal safety; many times there were protests from local residents who were concerned about having a treatment center in their community... On my last day at ELWA, the treatment center was brimming with patients in every bed and there were a limited number of health care workers providing vital medical care while dozens of protesters stood outside chanting and shouting; the challenges in providing patient care were insurmountable... As a matter of fact, given the challenges of implementing infection control measures nationwide, I feared that the situation would soon escalate into a humanitarian emergency... A myriad of factors have led to an inadequate response to this horrendous outbreak, from the lack of public health and health care delivery infrastructure to the persistence of unsafe burial practices and an environment of mistrust... Today, many Liberians believe either that Ebola does not exist or that patients with the disease are being experimented upon at clinics... I applaud the bravery of my Liberian colleagues, as well as those from Samaritan's Purse, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Serving in Mission, who have engaged Ebola from the beginning and continue to provide care despite many obstacles... This is a unique opportunity for the international community to combine our technical expertise in public health, medicine, disaster management, and social science to better understand and address barriers that are preventing an effective response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014.

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Gloves, boots, and goggles drying after decontamination with chlorine in the courtyard at the ELWA Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia.
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f02: Gloves, boots, and goggles drying after decontamination with chlorine in the courtyard at the ELWA Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia.

Mentions: This is a unique opportunity for the international community to combine our technical expertise in public health, medicine, disaster management, and social science to better understand and address barriers that are preventing an effective response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014. It is also an opportunity to review how we can build the health infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries to prevent a disaster of this proportion from recurring.


Courage is not the absence of fear: responding to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

Mobula LM - Glob Health Sci Pract (2014)

Gloves, boots, and goggles drying after decontamination with chlorine in the courtyard at the ELWA Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4307864&req=5

f02: Gloves, boots, and goggles drying after decontamination with chlorine in the courtyard at the ELWA Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia.
Mentions: This is a unique opportunity for the international community to combine our technical expertise in public health, medicine, disaster management, and social science to better understand and address barriers that are preventing an effective response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014. It is also an opportunity to review how we can build the health infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries to prevent a disaster of this proportion from recurring.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: United States Agency for International Development/AAAS S&T Fellow, Washington, DC, USA, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. While in Liberia, with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) of Samaritan's Purse. mmobula@usaid.gov.

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Since the onset of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in February 2014, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 370 health care workers have been infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD), and 216 have since died... During the height of the Ebola epidemic, I had the unique opportunity of working at the Ebola Case Management Center of the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) hospital in Monrovia, Liberia... About a third of all patients with Ebola admitted to ELWA were health care workers... A famous quote from author Ambrose Hollingworth Redmoon (born James Neil Hollingworth) goes: Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear... The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not... In my time serving at ELWA, as more health care workers became infected, fewer reported to duty, leading to a further shortage of personnel... Despite this, I overcame my fears and continued to provide medical care to my patients, which included my own coworkers... Fear of contracting Ebola was compounded by fear for personal safety; many times there were protests from local residents who were concerned about having a treatment center in their community... On my last day at ELWA, the treatment center was brimming with patients in every bed and there were a limited number of health care workers providing vital medical care while dozens of protesters stood outside chanting and shouting; the challenges in providing patient care were insurmountable... As a matter of fact, given the challenges of implementing infection control measures nationwide, I feared that the situation would soon escalate into a humanitarian emergency... A myriad of factors have led to an inadequate response to this horrendous outbreak, from the lack of public health and health care delivery infrastructure to the persistence of unsafe burial practices and an environment of mistrust... Today, many Liberians believe either that Ebola does not exist or that patients with the disease are being experimented upon at clinics... I applaud the bravery of my Liberian colleagues, as well as those from Samaritan's Purse, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Serving in Mission, who have engaged Ebola from the beginning and continue to provide care despite many obstacles... This is a unique opportunity for the international community to combine our technical expertise in public health, medicine, disaster management, and social science to better understand and address barriers that are preventing an effective response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014.

Show MeSH