Thursday, 16 October 2014 - 10:20
Dutch recreate African ebola camp to train aid workers
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is building an imitation Ebola clinic in an old factory building in Slotervaart. This will be used as a training center for new employees who will be sent to Ebola infected countries in West Africa More than 200 people have reported to MSF and volunteered to be sent out. According to Katrien Coppens, director of MSF-Netherlands, only 13 of them have enough experience to be sent to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. From October 23rd the new employees will receive two days of training in working with protective clothing in a trial setting with beds and disinfecting bins. Then they will go to West Africa, where they'll be relieved again after five weeks. A month and a half ago MSF raised the alarm about the medical and social consequences of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the lack of attention, assistance and materials. Now Ebola has the attention of world leaders. According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, twenty Ebola treatment centers are operational in the affected area, with a total of one thousand beds and hundreds of aid givers. "A lot is happening." says Coppens, "American organizations are active, the armies of the United States, Great Britain and China are building treatment centers in the affected area, the Red Cross is working in the communities, UNICEF scales up and Cuba has sent doctors. But the epidemic is of an unprecedented scale and it takes ten weeks for those centers to be operational. We therefore remain behind" According to Coppens the biggest concern is the lack of nurses and doctors. "There is a lot of willingness, but there are few with the necessary skills and experience." Meanwhile the number of infected people doubles every three weeks. "Now there are eight thousand, soon sixteen and in two months you are talking about 64 thousand infected people. Social life in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia therefore becomes increasingly disrupted.The anxiety, panic and aggression among the population of these countries will grow.