Sierra Leone awards for Ebola fighters
The work of World Health Organization Ebola fighters, many of whom have spent more than a year working to stop the outbreak, was recognized by His Excellency, the President of Sierra Leone this weekend in a special ceremony.
Ishata Conteh, epidemiology
Ms Ishata Conteh, an epidemiologist who led the investigation of some of the most difficult local outbreaks- from a vicious flare in Aberdeen, Freetown through to a very difficult flare in Kaffu Bullum village. Ms Conteh worked so closely and well with communities that she was able to unearth and stop hidden chains of transmission.
Zabulon Yoti, coordination
Dr Zabulon Yoti an ‘Ebola veteran’ with experience of epidemics in other parts of Africa, was one of the first deployed to deal with the outbreak when the virus began to spread like wildfire in Kailahun, eastern Sierra Leone. Past Ebola outbreaks lasted a matter of months but this one lasted for nearly two years, and Dr Yoti stayed in Sierra Leone for the duration, co-ordinating the fight against Ebola for WHO in Sierra Leone.
Margaret Lamunu, technical coordination
Dr Yoti was joined this year by Dr Margaret Lamunu, who came to Sierra Leone as WHO ‘s Ebola technical co-ordinator, managing research, clinical care, infection control, care for survivors. Among the many things Dr Lamunu worked on was extension of the successful Guinea ring vaccination trial to Sierra Leone.
Patrick Otim, team lead
Another recognized was Dr Patrick Otim, who led the team fighting the outbreak in Kambia, throughout this year’s wet season when torrential rains made the roads rivers of mud that had to be traversed to reach and engage the communities with Ebola.
All four have worked tirelessly along with WHO colleagues and thousands of others, both local and international, to bring this unprecedented outbreak under control.