Ebola virus disease is a scourge in West Africa, where the toll from the most recent outbreak totals nearly 28,000 reported cases and over 11,000 deaths. And while the symptoms and the suffering associated with Ebola can be disturbing to those who simply hear or read about the disease, those working directly with patients know the grim reality of the disease — and the challenges of dealing with it — only too well.
Consider Norah Keah-Sandi, director of nursing services at Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Liberia that receives aid from Stop Hunger Now. In July 2014, the hospital admitted a man diagnosed with malaria, one of many fevers with symptoms that mirror those of Ebola and present themselves at the hospital.
While the doctor at the hospital isolated the patient, he died two days later. The staff needed to dispose of the body, but the hospital had no protocol in place for prevention and control of the disease, and the staff knew little about Ebola.
Fortunately, Keah-Kandi had received training in the protocol for personal protective equipment. So she led five staff members in the protocol for preparing the body for disposal and burying it, and then for 21 days followed strict protocols for monitoring vital signs for those coming into contact with suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola.
“I continue to tell almighty God, ‘Thank you, Daddy God,’ for grace and protection,” she says. “I also praise and thank you, our partners, such as Stop Hunger Now, for your prayers and material support that gives us courage, wisdom, strength and enabled us to remain safe throughout the heat of the crisis until now. We are not free yet from Ebola, and so we need your prayers, Ebola training and materials support in order to keep safe and keep serving.”