Fighting Ebola in Guinea
Summary by: Nikki Blackwell
The medical non-governmental organisation ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) in collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health opened and ran the Ebola treatment centre (ETC), in Nzerekore, Guinea during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa. This paper will describe the issues faced in treatment of the evolving phases of the illness and the aero-medical evacuation of health workers with suspected Ebola virus disease. The difficulties of participating in a trial of experimental therapy during an epidemic of a highly contagious disease, with a terrified local population will be explored. An approach to working with the local community to optimise engagement and minimise stigma, to allow an appropriate public health response will be illustrated. Issues arising from ensuring safe handling and burial of corpses while maintaining respect and dignity for the dead person and their loved ones will be outlined. The stresses and strains of day to day life for the Ebola treatment team will also be shared. Sadly, the ETC has recently been re-opened due to a new cluster of cases.