Appeals

How do we protect our Ebola fighters?

©IFRC/VictorLacken

©IFRC/VictorLacken

Aid workers fighting Ebola make huge personal sacrifices to save lives in West Africa. But how do we protect our staff and volunteers? In this blog, Sam Lauder explains the importance of infection prevention at the Red Cross treatment centre in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

A torn glove, a moment of lapsed concentration, a needle injury – there is so much that could potentially go wrong when working in an Ebola treatment centre.

As a member of the infection and prevention control (IPC) team, it was my job to make sure that we did everything to stop the virus from spreading.

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Ebola outbreak – after the quarantine

Ebola-Anna-blogJinna Amara had been ill for several days. No one knew what was wrong with her.

Upon hearing that his cousin was sick, Mustapha Mambu did what anyone else would do – he cared for her and tried to get her treatment.

Mustapha went to fetch his cousin from her home in Kailahun, eastern Sierra Leone, in late September.

He wasn’t to know that she had Ebola. Sadly, three days after bringing her home, she died. But worse was to come.

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“We left our own wedding to help aid get through”

A man put his arm around a woman's shoulder

©Ibrahim Malla/IFRC

Sarah and Basem began their wedding day bringing aid to people caught up in the Syrian crisis. That evening, they left the celebrations to make sure more help could get through.

The couple have been working for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Tartous – first as volunteers, then as staff members. Read the story of that incredible wedding day in their own words. More

War surgery in South Sudan: “Everything here is a big challenge”

It’s 40 degrees Celsius inside the makeshift operating theatre. In the middle of the room lies a dying patient.

Around him stand surgeon Nikolai Dmitriev, an anaesthetist and two nurses. Their job is to bring him back from the brink of death using only the most basic tools.

“In the best case, he could lose his foot. In the worst case, he could lose his life,” says Nikolai.

Welcome to the world of Red Cross mobile surgery teams in South Sudan, where conflict has plunged the world’s newest country into crisis.

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Living with death: an Ebola doctor’s diary – part five

EbolaIn the final instalment of this five-part series, Dingeman Rijken gives a heartbreaking insight into the life of a Red Cross Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone.

Quarantine – Monday 15 December

A busy afternoon follows the quiet morning. Two ambulances and an army pickup arrive at our temporary holding centre at the Kono hospital with six patients in total.

The holding centre is used to separate suspected Ebola patients from non-Ebola patients.

An unconscious soldier and a bleeding pregnant woman are immediately sent off to our Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema. The soldier rolls off his stretcher just as the woman climbs into the ambulance.

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Living with death: an Ebola doctor’s diary – part four

EbolaList of names – Wednesday 10 December

Adama, a patient at the treatment centre, goes home today. A few days ago one of the nurses asked her whether she wanted to go home. She replied with a list of names of everyone she witnessed dying.

She then pointed at a baby, who the nurse was feeding with a bottle, and said: “I want to go home before she dies.”

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Living with death: an Ebola doctor’s diary – part three

©IFRC/JariLindholm

In the third instalment of this five-part series, Dingeman Rijken gives a heartbreaking insight into the life of a Red Cross Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone.

No dignity in Ebola – Sunday 7 December

Yesterday evening three ambulances brought another 12 patients from Kono district to the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema.

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Living with death: an Ebola doctor’s diary – part two

EbolaIn the second of this five-part series, Dingeman Rijken gives a heartbreaking insight into the life of a Red Cross Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone. 

Going home – Thursday 4 December

Every morning the intravenous team goes into the high-risk zone to take blood samples from patients suspected or confirmed to have Ebola, and from patients who appear to have recovered.

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