When Ebola swept through West Africa, the greatest pressure fell on health workers. From rural clinics nearly inaccessible by roads to the crowded neighborhoods of Monrovia, health workers faced daily decisions on whether or not to risk their own lives to care for patients.
As part of JSI’s Infection Prevention and Control Activity, funded by the OFDA, health workers across Liberia were trained in correct infection prevention practices to ensure that they could perform their jobs safely. Through extensive training, mentoring, and supervision, JSI is working to ensure that these practices become an institutionalized part of Liberia’s health system, even post-Ebola. Building up infection prevention capabilities makes patients and health workers safer and Liberia’s health system stronger.
We met a few of the health workers our team had trained to talk about their experiences as health professionals during the Ebola crisis. Here’s what they said:
“Working in a hospital during the Ebola crisis was a severe challenge because we needed to be very careful, even with our colleagues at work. At some point, some staff refused to come to work — patients started coming back quite recently. Many patients had thought that Ebola actually came from clinics.” — Pharmacist, Bopulu
“From the beginning of the crisis, I was afraid. I saw what the disease did, and I thought — How can I move around my community safely? I was afraid until somebody came and did an on-the-spot training at a facility I worked at. As a trainer myself, I love making other people feel relieved too.” — Trainer, Monrovia
“We never closed our doors during the Ebola outbreak, even when it was at its worst.” — Officer in Charge, Monrovia
“Personally, I have some friends and family who have lost their lives because of the Ebola war. So I decided to start working at the biggest Ebola treatment unit (ETU) in Liberia as a logistician. When they decommissioned the ETU, I saw a vacancy at JSI for last mile delivery — I decided that if I’m alive, I’m going to do the best I can to go to anywhere they can assign me and make sure I will fight Ebola until the end.” — Logistitian, Bopulu
“You have to talk to people and make them know that you are also a part of their community and that you yourself can be affected by Ebola as well.” — Trainer, Monrovia
“The clinics are trying, little by little, but it’s not easy. They’ve been working very hard, actually. They’ve been following our trainings and are doing their best, even though they might still struggle. But, at least they are doing better and we keep supervising.” — Trainer, Monrovia
JSI works with health workers in across Liberia’s 15 counties as part of the Infection Prevention and Control Activity, a project funded by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
To learn more about our work teaching health workers about infection prevention control protocols, watch this video: