The Services and Sacrifices of the Ebola Epidemic’s Frontline Healthcare Workers in Kenema District, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa with a population of between six and seven million people. To most of the world, Sierra Leone is best known for its natural resources—particularly diamonds—and the 11-year civil war that they fueled until 2002. Twelve years after the end of the war, a recovering but fragile Sierra Leone was thrust into global attention again—this time by the largest Ebola outbreak in history. During the outbreak, health care workers became 21–32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than people in the general population. Over 350 health care workers were infected in Sierra Leone, 92 of whom worked in Kenema District, the site of one of the largest ever reported clusters of health care workers infected with Ebola. This chapter is the story of the first few months of the outbreak in Sierra Leone in Kenema District. It describes the challenges and successes of health care workers who tried to continue providing maternal, reproductive, and child health care, within the deadliest, longest, and most widespread epidemic of Ebola ever recorded. It focuses on the local health care workers and the lifesaving services they risked their lives to deliver.
KeywordsEbola Health care workers Infection prevention Infection control Kenema Maternal and child health Reproductive health Sierra Leone Pregnancy Maternal health Maternal death Ebola virus disease Infant heath Maternal morbidity Maternal mortality Neonatal death Nosocomial transmission
The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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