Lucie Lecomte has just sent me a batch of remarkable reports, of which this is just one. I'll post the others very shortly. This one is an ominous portent for NGOs in West Africa. Via The Vancouver Sun: Aid worker escapes Ebola virus, remains in region. Excerpt:
The first wave of the Ebola virus had just passed when Vancouver’s Anne Catherine Bajard accepted a two-year job as Liberia country director for IBIS, a Denmark-based international development agency.
The Kitsilano resident figured the outbreak of the deadly virus would be under control when she arrived June 1 to start her job, which includes managing a team of seven expatriates and 50 local workers aiming to help rebuild the education system and the capacities of civil society following the civil wars.
But she was wrong. “We thought it was controlled,” Bajard said, noting this had happened fairly quickly with previous outbreaks in rural villages. “What we didn’t know was that this was hitting major centres with large quantities of people. In a city you can’t control it.”
Nearly two months later, on July 29, Bajard called a crisis alert for her office, fearing she and her team could not get medical help, even for a broken leg, if they needed it because of the high risk of contracting the virus at or near hospitals.
Their concerns were heightened by Bajard’s fears that she and her co-workers might not be able to get a flight out because airlines were avoiding Liberia and refusing to take passengers with a temperature.
“I realized at this point I cannot get the expats out if they get sick,” Bajard said in a Skype interview with The Vancouver Sun from Ghana. “That was the biggest fear, being stuck there and any health problems we had putting us at risk of Ebola.”
Bajard lobbied the United Nations in hopes of getting clinic access but there was no room available for members of non-governmental organizations. In the meantime, the team bought advance airline tickets to Ghana as part of an escape plan that was mobilized on Wednesday night, after rising concerns that the Ebola threat was increasing.
So Bajard and her colleagues are running their operation via Skype.