Ebola: Reporting from West Africa

By Jackson Niamah, Physician’s Assistant With Doctors Without Borders, Monrovia, Liberia

I first heard about cases of Ebola in March.  Soon after, the disease came here to Monrovia [Liberia] from then on, people started dying.

My niece, Francia Kollie, and my cousin, Jounpu Lowea, both nurses, became infected at work.  While they were able to receive treatment, they died in late July.  So many of my close friends, university classmates, and colleagues have also died in recent months.

Since I have a medical background, I felt it was my responsibility to help my country.

I am a team leader in MSF’s treatment center in Monrovia.  I have worked in the triage, assessing patients prior to admission, in the suspected cases tent, and with patients confirmed to have Ebola.  Because there is no cure, we provide supportive care to patients, in the form of food, hydration, and basic treatment of symptoms.  If treated early enough, their chances of survival are much better.

I cannot stand aside and watch my people die.  But I, along with my colleagues here, cannot fight Ebola alone.

Drawing by Pat Bagley (Salt Lake Tribune)

Drawing by Pat Bagley (Salt Lake Tribune)

We are trying to treat as many people as we can, but there are not nearly enough treatment centers and patient beds.  We have to turn people away.  And they are dying at our front door.

Right now, as I speak, people are sitting at the gates of our centers, literally begging for their lives.  They rightly feel alone, neglected, denied–left to die a horrible, undignified death.

We urgently need to get the disease under control.  The international community must help us.

For more of Jackson’s story click here.

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