Dr. Tim Jagatic of Médecins Sans Frontières spent March and April in Guinea when the Ebola outbreak was first recognized — and returned to West Africa to fight the disease in July.
“When I went to West Africa the second time, people might have thought: 1) I’m masochistic and don’t have any sense of self-preservation, 2) I was lied to about the reality of the risk, or 3) I was told the truth about the risk, and it wasn’t that bad,” he said at a roundtable discussion on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Meeting held in New Orleans in early November.
“I’ll tell you, it was the third reason. The precautions that are taken in the field for the health care workers, both expat and national staff, are extremely well thought out, extremely well executed, and it is very important for healthcare workers all over the world to understand that these measures are being taken, and they are taken very seriously.”
“As a healthcare worker who has donned and doffed PPE more than a hundred times, I can tell you that a very comprehensive plan is in place to make sure that the decontamination process is being done systemically. There is no such thing as zero risk. But MSF is constantly re-evaluating all the procedures and protocols that exist to make sure that any loophole that might not be detected earlier is being shut.”
Global Health Strategies generously supported Theo Smart’s attendance at the 63rd Annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Conference in New Orleans.