Via FrontPageAfrica: Guts in Difficult Times: Meet Liberia’s Ebola Miracle Workers. Click through for the full report and two videos. Excerpt:
Dr. Jerry F. Brown and his men pace in and out of the ELWA2 Ebola Management Center at the ELWA hospital in Monrovia over a dozen times a day caring for patients affected by the deadly Ebola virus, while at the same time trying to finalize the paperwork to release those who have tested negative for the virus from isolation.
Dr. Brown and his colleagues are seen interacting with the families of the patients, giving them hope and telling them a miracle might happen. The medical doctor admits that the job is a difficult one that takes only courage to do.
“It is very difficult, fearful, challenging, you have to have the guts to do it,” he said on Friday as he released from isolation a mother of two whose husband also died right before her eyes while in isolation. The good news is that her one-year-four-month-old and her seven year-old sons who contracted the disease along with her all tested negative for the virus and were released from isolation after 21 days.
Dr. Brown said despite the courage to keep working with patients who are infected with the Ebola virus, it sometimes scares the life out of him.
“Yes, I do worry but one thing for sure, anything can happen. For every person I see coming out of the unit and smiling, I have the courage to go back,” he said. Dressed in Personal Protective Equipment they tend to patients who are very sick and weak waiting for a sign from God as there is no known cure for the disease.
Kyndy Kobbah a physician assistant who works at the C. H. Rennie Hospital, came into the center very sick with eleven other colleagues, ten of them died of the virus and she survived after being administered the experimental drug Z-MAPP. Kobbah paying tribute to the health workers at the all Liberian-run center said the dedication is extraordinary and selfless.
“I can imagine Dr. Brown in PPE trying to open my line (vein) but they couldn’t find it for three to four hours,” she told President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday as she and other health worker who took the Z-Mapp drug walked out of isolation perfectly cured from the disease.
“I’m not the only person; there are lots of other patients. I wore PPE before and I know the heat that is in PPE. So they need upgrading of their salaries, Madam President, and they need more support in that unit. The food needs to come on time. Bring more support, there are lots of children in there, they need beddings, mattresses. When I came, I sent for mattresses from Margibi.”
Aluminum sheeting encloses the center and a makeshift corridor lined with tiny rocks. The gravel sound is continuous through the day and night as the movement between the gates is endless. There is a hand washing facility at the door and men in suits and masks, spray the entire vicinity as people including journalists pour around the center. Health workers and volunteers who work at the center are no magical humans; they too have their fragile moments as one of the dedicated staff at the center told FrontPageAfrica on Friday.
Darlington Kumosi, head of testing at the ELWA2 Ebola treatment facility, says as a health worker, facing the Ebola crisis was nothing any of them bargained for, but it was a rude awakening to the realities of life.
He said having to care for his colleagues and see them die of the deadly virus was something that was too difficult to accept. He said hope only came when a few of them started to survive, including Kobe and others who have left the center.
“Anytime I see anybody who was positive before and going home negative; the only thing I can say is dear God, thank you,” said Kumosi.
“When it started newly to be frank with you, I almost left the job. When Dr. Kent Brantley came down positive with the virus (he was a very good friend of mine, we worked very closely together) depression almost killed me. I used to worry in the night; I couldn’t sleep. I had to quarantine myself for 21 days before I started to feel normal again."