The location Doctors Without Borders is using in Vierhouten (photo: Philipinevinke / Twitter) - Credit: The location Doctors Without Borders is using in Vierhouten (photo: Philipinevinke / Twitter)
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 - 12:51
Ebola care vs. tourism revenue: small town concerned
Doctors Without Borders is bringing foreign doctors and nurses who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leon to a house in Vierhouten. The 700 inhabitants of the village on the Veluwe are worried that heir arrival will mean that tourists won't visit. The first group of six doctors and nurses will arrive next week. They are from countries in Africa, Asia and South America, where medical care is inadequate. If one of them should unexpectedly have an Ebola infection, they won't receive medical care quickly enough at home. In the Netherlands every academic hospital has furnished Ebola-rooms. The risk of infection is minimal, but Doctors Without Borders (MSF) does not want to take any risks. The aid workers will stay in Vierhouten for three weeks, as long as the Ebola incubation period. The aid workers will be staying in villa Zonnehuisje, a beautiful house on the outskirts of the village that MSF inherited a few years ago. The MSF staff may travel back to their countries of origin only after they show no symptoms for three weeks. "The shelter is no quarantine," says Mireille de Haan of MSF. "It is not necessary if people aren't sick. They may go shopping and walk around the village. Dutch employees who return just go home." Tomorrow the GGD, the municipality Nunspeet and MSF will hold an information evening in the village hall. "If they are only gone again at the start of tourist season. Otherwise no one will come." says Bertus Foppen, owner of the garage with the same name. He won't be attending the information evening. Vierhouten lives off the six campgrounds and restaurants in the village. More than 10 thousand tourists visit in the high season. "I am an open minded person," says restaurant owner Gerwin Kuijper. "And I have enormous respect for the work of doctors. But why shout the shelter be here? Now it appears in the publicity. Vierhouten = Ebola. While we prepare for the busiest month of the year." He fears cancellations for the Christmas dinners in his restaurant. MSF wants to use the house as a shelter address until the Ebola crisis is over. "And that will take a long time still. Still many months," says De Haan. In West Africa 14 thousand people have been infected. More than 5 thousand people have succumbed to the disease, including aid workers. "There is no danger. We're going to explain it." promises De Haan. Not everyone has reservations about the shelter. Lisa Welie is determined to go to the information evening. "I am proud that Vierhouten is making a contribution. I work in healthcare and have a lot of admiration for the aid workers who fight against Ebola."