Upon her return from 6 weeks in west Africa working with Partners In Health on the Liberia Ebola response, Farrah Kashfipour reflects on the challenges of responding to an epidemic in a resource-limited setting.
The Ebola epidemic continues to ravage west Africa, killing about half of the people who contract the virus. Those lucky enough to recover face the stigma of having been infected and the subsequent challenge of reintegration into their devastated communities. Many children are left orphans.
In Liberia the number of new cases has fallen in many areas, including cities, while hotspots continue to develop in rural communities. Contrast that with the situation in Sierra Leone where the number of new infections increased rapidly over the past few weeks but may have leveled off more recently.
While in Liberia, I had the privilege of being part of a team- Partners In Health, Last Mile Health and the Ministry of Health county health teams, that hosted 2-day training sessions throughout a rural county in Liberia. In spite of the difficult conditions, poor roads, lack of cellphone or internet connectivity, and the constant heat and humidity, the trainees showed up every morning, optimistic and enthusiastic as they practiced following the protocols for safely getting into and out of their personal protective equipment.