Via MSF.org, a statement by Jackson K. P. Naimah: MSF addresses UN Security Council emergency session on Ebola. Excerpt:
I wish to thank Ambassador Power for inviting my organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, to address this gathering of nations who can help my people, my country, and my region.
I am honored to represent MSF. We welcome President Obama’s Ebola response plan and hope for its immediate implementation. We also call upon all member states of the United Nations to similarly mobilize their capacities. With every day that passes, the epidemic spreads and destroys more lives.
I first heard about cases of Ebola in March. Soon after, the disease came here to Monrovia. From then on, people began dying.
My niece, Francila Kollie, and my cousin, Jounpu Lowea, both nurses, became infected at work. While they were able to receive treatment, they died in late July. So many of my close friends, university classmates, and colleagues have also died in recent months.
Since I have a medical background, I felt it was my responsibility to help my country.
I am a team leader in MSF’s treatment center in Monrovia. I have worked in the triage, assessing patients prior to admission, in the suspected cases tent, and with patients confirmed to have Ebola. Because there is no cure, we provide supportive care to patients, in the form of food, hydration, and basic treatment of symptoms. If treated early enough, their chances of survival are much better.
I cannot stand aside and watch my people die. But I, along with my colleagues here, cannot fight Ebola alone.
You, the international community, must help us.
I wish to illustrate the battle we face.
We have seen so many patients die. And they die alone, terrified, and without their loved ones at their side. As a medic, one must have a different way of coping. When I go inside the treatment center, I keep my focus on what the patients need.
We try to attend first to those who are weaker, those who need more help to eat and drink, or those who need to speak to one of our counselors because they are so traumatized and frightened.
We are trying to treat as many people as we can, but there are not nearly enough treatment centers and patient beds. We have to turn people away. And they are dying at our front door.
Right now, as I speak, people are sitting at the gates of our centers, literally begging for their lives. They rightly feel alone, neglected, denied – left to die a horrible, undignified death.
We are failing the sick because there is not enough help on the ground. And we are failing those who will inevitably become infected, because we cannot care properly for the sick in safe, protected environments and prevent the spread of the virus.
One day this week, I sat outside the treatment center eating my lunch. I saw a boy approach the gate. A week ago his father died from Ebola. I could see his mouth was red with blood. We had no space for him. When he turned away to walk into town, I thought to myself that this boy is going to take a taxi, and he is going home to his family, and he will infect them.