Via the Winnipeg Free Press, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Meagre pay, tough conditions: Health-care workers needed for Ebola response. Excerpt:
The pay is a pittance, the conditions are gruelling, and the personal risks are all too real.
The need for international health-care workers to help in the response to West Africa's Ebola outbreak is enormous and pressing. But make no mistake — this is tough, tough work that people are being asked to volunteer for — and dangerous.
That fact was driven home tragically over the weekend with the announcement that a British nurse and a Senegalese epidemiologist have contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, one of three countries battling the disease.
Dr. Rob Fowler knows the scenario all too well.
A critical care specialist at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Fowler has done a pair of month-long stints in West Africa since the outbreak appeared on the world's radar in March.
A veteran of Toronto's 2003 SARS outbreak, Fowler has practised his profession in difficult and dangerous circumstances. But the Ebola work, well, that's a whole other level of tough, he said in a recent interview.
"This is the hardest thing I've ever done, I would say, in any of my clinical experiences," Fowler, a quiet man, says in a matter-of-fact tone.
"That's not to say that SARS wasn't difficult ... for everyone involved. However this is a different order of magnitude."
He describes working in Kenema, Sierra Leone's third largest city. Located in the east of the country, near its junction with the other affected countries — Liberia and Guinea — Kenema has been a hot spot for Ebola infections.
A fourth country, Nigeria, has reported about 16 cases, all linked to a man who brought the virus from Liberia. The hope is that Nigeria can stop transmission before it spreads out of control.
For more than a decade, the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has operated treatment centres when Ebola outbreaks occur. They have the most experience delivering this dangerous care, and the world has been happy to rely on their expertise.
MSF, however, has said it cannot open another treatment centre at Kenema because it is already stretched beyond its limits.