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EMC 24 November 14 29 2014-11-25 - Version 2

I am sorry that it has taken me a while to write my first post from Sierra Leone. Even now I am not sure where to start. I guess Ill start with today.

Today a little boy called Lovell died in a tent in Kailahun. He was 13. He died next to strangers and was cared for by people who looked like aliens. This is the first glance summary of Lovell’s death but I know that it is by no means the full story. He may well have been unknown to the other people being cared for in Ebola confirmed Tent 1 and he was surely cared for by people who looked strange. He was however cared for with compassion and dignity. A lot of people looked after Lovell during his time in the MSF Ebola Management Centre (EMC). National Staff who have been working without a break since this epidemic came to Kailahun in June, Expatriate Staff who come from all over the world to try to help this tragic situation. Today I was in the tent with my kind and compassionate colleague Massimo, we went in to give oral rehydration, quickly see if anyone needed symptom relief and help with any hygiene needs. We had checked Lovell and tried to give him a drink but he was unable to manage. We settled him back onto his bed and moved on, as we left, I commented that he seemed comfortable which was nice. A few minutes later, Massimo went back to see him and he had died.

This is the tragedy of the situation still unfolding in West Africa. Lovell never got to grow up and live the dreams he no doubt had. He is one of many. The difference for me personally is that I looked into his eyes and held him while we tried to give him a drink. I saw the care that was given to him and how the team suffers as they realise that a patient like Lovell isn’t going to survive. We cope, people just do wether they are MSF staff or the persons own family. We are resilient beings. We adjust our expectations in order to carry on.

I could write many more such stories, more than 300 people have died in the EMC since June BUT well over 350 have recovered. I walk around to the area for convalescing patients and I see hope. People sit chatting, playing cards and recuperating before being discharged. Sometimes we loose and it hurts but when we win we should celebrate.

It seems strange to comment on an organisation for which I work but anyone who knows me also knows that I value MSF immensely and working for them has been the proudest thing I have done in my life. This mission demonstrates very clearly that MSF is the most important medical NGO operating today. If as you read this you are getting the feeling I’m building up to something, you are right!

Everything that MSF does wether it is putting people like me in the field to care for children like Lovell or running its immense Logistics or Water and Sanitation interventions costs money – lots of it. This is teamwork at its best . Without water and sanitation – everyone dies. Without Logistics – the water and sanitation people have no equipment. Without Administration staff, the Expats never leave their home country and the National Staff don’t get paid. It costs a fortune and I make no apologies for once again asking you to donate to MSF.

Thank you for anything you can donate.

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