I missed this March 26 Le Monde report: Anthropologists frontline against Ebola. The Google translation:
To fight against the epidemic of Ebola virus in Guinea , declared Friday, March 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has fielded epidemiologists, doctors, nurses or even logistics, accustomed health disasters. But also, and this is unexpected, anthropologists. These have been entrusted with the delicate task of negotiating with the families of the dead, infected with the virus, the adaptation of funeral rites.
"It is a characteristic hemorrhagic fevers, families and relatives wash the body, affect, are in complete proximity to the virus, which remains active even after death" , says Marie-Christine Férir , responsible for international emergencies for MSF in Brussels. The pathogen multiplies force during the twelve hours after death, and fluids and secretions flowing body are highly contagious.
Funeral ceremonies are times of high risk: concentration of families, contact with infected body, dangerous sanitary and hygienic conditions ... "In Congo, for example, in some contexts, the garment of the deceased is soaked, washed in the water, and those who came to greet the dead drink some of that water, " says Peter Maes, head hygiene and water MSF. They are very sensitive situations, and anthropologists help logistics specialists to negotiate.
SANITIZE HOME CHLORINE
"When the ceremonies take place before we could intervene , they then become the epicenter of new epidemics , says Maes. I knew very difficult funeral to check with people too tight, it must be able to supervise distance with respect. " The priority in a context of widespread fear, is to win the trust of the families. "If we fail to discuss if we are being too rigid, there is a risk of seeing families conceal cases, deaths , not having to change the traditional rite, and take the risk to prevent the spirit of leaving the body, " says Marie-Christine Férir.
To properly do the MSF and WHO enclose the body in "body bags" sealed bags. An opening is provided at the face so that the family can see and photograph the deceased.
Moreover, it must be disinfected by chlorine home. Other teams are specially in charge of monitoring all patient contacts.
TACT AND DIPLOMACY
Each crop has its own traditions regarding death. Sometimes it is seen as a manifestation of bad luck. "Having to work with local health teams often facilitates contact," says M. Maes. "But the advantage, coming from the outside, it is you can appear as innocent, out of local traditions."
Everything must be done with tact, diplomacy . "We realized that arriving at a home in full dress insulation, coveralls and helmet with or mask, it was scary and prevented contact, says Peter Maes. It then arrives in civil and person team in the house also offering member family the same outfit." MSF teams have already occurred during seven to eight outbreaks of Ebola.