Ebola Crisis: How Health Workers On West African Frontline Are Paying With Their Lives

Monica Mark | The Guardian | October 8, 2014

...Liberian-American civil servant Patrick Sawyer had slipped through three layers of security – a quarantine order, and airport checks in Liberia and Nigeria – intended to stem an outbreak in three west African countries. Within 24 hours, he became Nigeria’s Ebola patient zero, the small hospital was forced to become a makeshift Ebola ward, and Adadevoh, an endocrinologist, found herself thrust into the role of stopping the disease’s spread in the continent’s most populous country.

That Nigeria has so far emerged relatively unscathed from its brush with Ebola owes much to the quick-thinking staff at an ordinary family clinic, who put themselves in the firing line for six days before the government was ready to relocate him. And, as elsewhere in this epidemic, those on the frontline paid the highest price: four of the seven fatalities were health workers, including Adadevoh.

“We tried everything we could. Any way we could get her out, any medicine; everybody was trying,” said her son, Bankole. “The saddest part is that she stayed here in Nigeria to run a health centre people could trust, and it’s the Nigerian system that let her down in the end.”  Even in specially equipped isolation wards, the slightest slip-ups – whether through poor equipment or inadequate training – can be deadly. Health authorities in Spain blamed substandard equipment for the infection of a nurse this week in Europe’s first recorded case...