What is your current role?
I’m staff health manager for the Save the Children staff, which numbers about 500, plus the families of their local staff.
Because the facilities are so limited, if someone gets ill – with Ebola or something else – there’s virtually nowhere safe to transfer them to. Medical evacuation is far from straightforward, as you need a helicopter or boat to reach the main airport.
I had to manage an expat staff worker with possible Ebola symptoms my first night here. Thankfully, after a night with very little sleep for me (and a lot of prayer!), he was much better, and I had connected with a number of key people and learnt a lot about how difficult these cases are to manage.
How careful do you have to be about who you come into contact with?
We only need to miss one person with Ebola to have fatal consequences on our hands, and this could result in one of our staff being infected. Another clinic recently had to close for three weeks after it inadvertently treated two people who turned out to have Ebola.
Why has the disease spread so rapidly?
It’s a combination of factors: poverty, fear in communities, mistrust of the government, corruption and the fact that there might be 10 or 15 people living in a house, so if one person gets sick it can spread like wildfire.
What motivates you to do what you do?
In some ways the world behaves as though the life of an African is of less value than the life of a Western person. They are hugely neglected on a global scale. I’m just trying to do a little bit to help adjust the balance really.
Are you afraid that you might catch Ebola?
I’m really not afraid. Not because I don’t think that it’s a possibility, but because I believe that God has called me to come here and I just trust my life into his hands. There’s this great verse in Psalm 139, which says: ‘…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before any of them came to be.’
I know there’s no guarantee that God being with me means I won’t get Ebola, because many Christian health workers have already died. But I trust that he knows what’s best and that he will be with me and he will equip me to do what he’s calling me to do.
How can people in the UK help?
Pray for the Save the Children team that the treatment centre will become fully operational as soon as possible.
Pray that the epidemic stops so that the suffering will not become any worse than it already is: schools are closed, there are travel restrictions and food prices are rocketing.
To be honest, I’m struggling myself to know how to pray, so just pray that his kingdom will come here and his name will somehow be exalted in all this.
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