This guest blog is from Liberian nurse Louise Gaye. She works at ELWA Ebola Treatment Unit in Monrovia, and features in our Ebola: Waiting video alongside stars from around the world.
While the world waited to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, healthcare workers like Louise have been there from the start. Risking their lives to treat patients, they often worked without the right protection, supplies and training.
My name is Louise Gaye.
I’m married with two children and I’ve been working as a nurse for ten years now.
At the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, my family were very, very tough on me because they knew that Ebola has no cure – people die. But at the end of the day, it’s my profession and I have the passion, so they went along with me.
I was afraid, but I’m not now.
In July our hygienist died, and then one of our doctors was diagnosed. Days before, he and I had chatted face-to-face to plan the work schedule so I was very afraid. I almost stopped coming to the Treatment Unit. But the fear has gone away now.
With the right level of education, taking care, and by doing what you ought to do at a particular time, you can prevent yourself from coming down with the virus. We make sure we wear our Personal Protective Equipment, look at ourselves in the mirror, or ask a friend to look at us.
We started receiving training from the international communities. They helped us to come this far but we still need more training, we still need more manpower.
My message to world leaders is to support our healthcare systems and workers.
When a country has a poor healthcare system, and then a disaster takes place, like this one in Liberia, we are at war. It started small, but because proper care was not put into place, it escalated. And now we are looking for help because we cannot do it alone.
What keeps me coming to work every day is encouragement and motivation from my staff. We share jokes and we laugh. And the patients, because I feel like that could be me or my relatives inside there. If I don’t come to tend to that person, who will? If everybody is afraid to enter the Ebola unit, who will go? Nobody. And our Liberian sisters and brothers will die.
We need to work together to end Ebola. Tell world leaders to support people like Louise by scaling up their response and delivering on their promises. Talk is cheap, it’s time to act. Sign the petition.
Watch Louise, and other Liberian healthcare workers, talking about what motivates them to do their job in this video.