First Dutch respondent to Ebola crisis returns

In Amsterdam, nurse Ronald Kremer has returned from a two-week placement in Sierra Leone, working with Ebola patients in a Doctors Without Borders mission in the area. He was the first Dutch nurse in the West African region where the deadly illness has already killed 1400 people, Tubantia reports. 

Kremer tells Tubantia of the experience, and how it changed him. The nurse is not a stranger to working in African countries and crisis areas, but as the illness has already infected more than 100 medical staff, Kremer was acutely aware of the risks as the patients and the medical staff have to live with the same lack of medical supplies.

"When I went there, I was full of confidence, I have already worked in many African countries and crisis areas and in theory you know what to do to prevent infection. But if you're there cleaning up diarrhea and vomit, or you have to take a patient's blood, then it suddenly comes very close. Then you're suddenly very aware of all your treatments", Kremer tells Tubantia.

Still, doctor-patient contact is very important. It can calm the patient. This is something that frustrated Kremer, as he had to wear a full-body protective suit, which made real contact impossible. "That is very frustrating sometimes, yes."

Doctors Without Borders is the only aid organization that works with Ebola patients on the ground in the area. Other organizations say there is too much risk, and too little experience among their staff. Kremer says that his colleagues and himself didn't have that experience either. "But now, we do."