Fighting a global epidemic

Witness Dzobo, biomedical scientist

When the most serious Ebola outbreak recorded in modern times broke out in west Africa, I was among those who were quick to offer their help. With the support of UHS I was able to volunteer to take my specialist laboratory, clinical and training skills to run Ebola and malaria diagnostic laboratories in Sierra Leone, the country hardest hit by the outbreak.

I worked in the Ebola treatment centre PHE laboratory in Kerrytown, which was open 16 hours a day, analyzing blood or mouth swab samples from suspected Ebola patients from across the western region of Sierra Leone. Before a diagnosis was confirmed all suspected cases were cared for on the same ward. That meant we had to quickly process Ebola samples and work out who had the virus so that they could be isolated, and the uninfected people protected.

The symptoms of Ebola can mimic other diseases so being able to provide quick and accurate laboratory diagnosis was crucial in increasing victim survival rates.

Being given the time away from my job as a biomedical scientist in order to volunteer has been incredibly important to me personally. It also gave me the chance to enhance my knowledge of Ebola, which I have been able to share with my colleagues in pathology. 

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