Day 45: A single-digit week and schools opening!

Single digit. Last week was first with single digits – 9 cases – helped by 3 zero days. Now striving for first zero week. I’d love to see it before I leave – SL’s have had hell for 12 months – over 12,000 cases, nearly 4,000 deaths, many children. 221 healthcare workers died.  Picture1
EHU in school - CopyTents galore with primary school in background Schools in! After a year of closure, excitement is palpable – schools open Tues! There’s been intense decommissioning of temporary (now surplus) Ebola centres – many erected on school grounds. Teams in protective gear sweated to ensure schoolyards were handed back safe and clean – many with a new coat of paint. Many workers can sustain 45mins in the suits outdoors – I lasted 25mins indoors. Some schools had many tents erected, cement paths laid, latrines dug, etc., and at handback don’t want any evidence whatsoever – major logistics!Our task is to ensure the 2000 odd HCW (all trained well in “Ebola”) are upskilled in basic “Infection Prevention & Control” before resuming their former hospital roles.        NB. IPC did not exist in SL before Ebola
Burying stigma.Try as we may, it is hard to neutralize the “Ebola” stigma attached to materials reclaimed from previous Ebola centres (some in unused boxes in store). As a greenie it is hard and staff aggressively cull materials so that receivers are absolutely assured of safety, The rest is burnt or buried.

These beds didn’t pass cull.

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IMG_0041What a treat to train this group of Port Loko drivers, sprayers & car washers from PLAN.

Friday is “Mufti” – you wear “Afrikana” – they said I blended in well but for the hair!

The brave haircut. Talking of hair – some aid workers go without a haircut for their deployment – after all, scissors are a “sharp”. But I am now freshly shorn as I found a barber who changed his gloves between clients and disinfected all his clippers and scissors with alcohol-spray between uses – the cut was $8 –  I gave him extra $2 for getting A+ in hygiene – and asked him did he want a job in Infection Prevention!
IHP Camp Port Loko-Aerial photo            Stayed in Port Loko IHP-DEMA Tent City again – their drone takes excellent aerials!
Evidence-based decisions at the edge.  In Infection Prevention and Control, we strive to ensure all our recommendations to colleagues and clients are evidence-based and guidance from CDC, WHO and our Professional Associations enables us to pretty well achieve this. This Ebola epidemic, in a poverty-stricken country, has raised questions that push us hard. I can’t thank enough our international IPC consultants here in WHO and CDC, whose combined knowledge is enabling us to make practical and safe decisions at the edge of evidence.
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Best regards, Terry.

PS. Strange feeling – I have just 3 weeks before my deployment ends.

 

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