Day 13 – Sierra Leone

Hi all,

I haven’t “gone to ground” – just full-on training 75 nurses/docs in Infection Prevention & Control – 10 hrs teaching a day – v rewarding – group is amazing – intelligent, fun and passionate about IPC – all passed Week 1 exam – now in week 2 (practice, practice, practice).

Ebola has devastated SL economically, socially and educationally – schools and univ have been closed 8 months (teachers not paid), still no body contact, all shops must close at 6pm to avoid crowds (beaches are closed to SL’s – but strangely we were allowed to enter beach – ??expats can’t spread Ebola.

Do not touch dead bodies

Signs everywhere remind us of Ebola threat. In developing countries Ebola’s “Reproductive Number” is 2 (i.e. 1 case leads to 2 others) but last week a single case in a remote village led to 57 cases! The reason – “women’s secret things” (incl bathing of children in dead body wash-water to pass on “power’ of female leader) and “exorcism” – emphasizing persistent need for health education in remote areas – hence intense training of 75 to “spread (the correct) word”.

PS. I have never seen so many humanitarian organizations in one place! Amazing inflow of compassion.

Good news is that beds in “Ebola Treatment Centres” are at 12% capacity – we’re meeting this weekend to discuss decommissioning and recovery of resources for distribution to “non-Ebola” resource-poor healthcare facilities (after disinfection of course).

Liberia discharged its last case of Ebola last week – we hope Sierra Leone can do same within 3 months?

Regards to you all, Terry

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