Via Vox.com, Julia Belluz writes: Experts say this is the one thing needed to stop the Ebola crisis. Excerpt:
Gino Strada, one of the doctors on the frontline of fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone,is opening a 100-bed hospital in four weeks. He has the supplies that he needs, the gloves and gowns.
But there's one worry that keeps Strada, the founder of the non-profit group Emergency, up at night: he thinks he might not be able to find the health workers to actually staff the hospital.
"The personnel is a critical factor," says Strada, a surgeon who is used to operating in the middle of more traditional battlefields, such as Afghanistan and Sudan. "To be able to provide each patient with a minimum of five to six hours of medical attention means you have to work on a rotation basis, so you need 100 nurses, and 10 to 15 doctors."
He is trying to recruit among the Cubans, the British, and the Italians. But it hasn't been easy, and with the hospital opening in about a month, he's not sure he'll find all the people he requires.
Strada's problem is the one many aid groups working in West Africa right now are facing: when asked what they'd say is the single most important resource needed to stop this epidemic, they all pointed to people. You can buy equipment and supplies, but if you don't have people to use them, they're useless.
You can build clinics, but if you don't have people to staff them, they'll sit empty. You can design an Ebola treatment or vaccine, but if you don't have people to hand them out, they can't save anyone. If this Ebola epidemic is going to be stopped, experts say more people need to join the fight. But as it gets worse, recruiting health workers is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
"In the last six months, a fair number of doctors have been infected and killed by the Ebola virus," says Dr. Daniel Bausch, associate professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health.
"Obviously if you're one who hasn't been infected with Ebola, how enthusiastic are you about doing that work if you see colleagues getting sick and dying? So you go to West Africa, and you say, 'Raise your hand if you want to work in an Ebola treatment unit.' You don't see many hands in the air."