Foreign volunteers adapt to Liberian environment to fight Ebola

Ebola Outbreak

Foreign volunteers and experts working at Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) and other medical facilities in Liberia were striving to adapt to the local environment in order to better fight the Ebola epidemic currently raging across parts of West Africa. CCTV News’ Angelo Coppola visited one of the locations to find out more about the facilities.

“Working in an ETU is a very strange place to be. With lots of small, small problems that come up,” said Peter Wilson, team leader of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) ETU in Tubmanburg. “And getting ourselves up to standard where we can declare ourselves to be an ETU, meeting international standards in order to treat Ebola.”

“We cover 14 different countries and we employ something close to 150 Liberian nationals,” Wilson said. “And in a country that’s suffered catastrophic financial events in these last few months, to be putting money back into a community, to be giving people some prosperity, albeit a small number, is a really positive thing that we are doing.”

The ETU in Tubmanburg is one of the three units planned by IOM around Liberia. The first completed, it was put into use in November. The team faced immense logistical challenges to set up an ETU in the area and to also meet the enormous medical requirements.

“The biggest challenge right now is for the past two weeks we are receiving pediatric patients, which are mostly below 14 years old,” said Ifrahim Palmero, medical director of ETU in Tubmanburg. “And this causes a lot of difficulty because it causes a lot of nursing care. And most of the protocols are not really oriented towards pediatric patients.”