What brought me here?
My interest for humanitarian aid dates back to when I was a young activist and then a supervisor with the Togolese Red Cross. After obtaining my PhD in medicine, I joined Doctors of the World to work on HIV and primary healthcare programmes. We were just beginning to develop programmes for marginalised people and child soldiers in the Liberian ghettos when Ebola broke out. The epidemic takes up 100% of our time now.
What I do
We’ve given training to over 400 community workers on how to inform the population on the Ebola virus, and now we’re helping to re-build the healthcare system. It was on the verge of collapse. Combatting Ebola costs so much money that the referral hospitals haven’t been able to re-open, so treating patients is almost totally left to the health centres we support. We have to give them sufficient supplies of medicines and consumables to reassure health workers and provide patients with appropriate care.
What I feel
Humanitarian aid implies being there for people when they need us most. I chose to stay in Liberia with my family to give meaning to my commitment. Of course I weighed up the risks but what kind of impression would it have given if we’d pulled out during the Ebola epidemic and gone back when it was all over? Doctors of the World would have lost its credibility to the health authorities, the community and, most importantly, to our Liberian colleagues.
Humanitarian aid implies being there for people when they need us most.