Health Management Public Health & Health Systems

South Africa sends nurses, doctor to assist in Ebola outbreak

Written by Ayanda Mkhwanazi

By the end of this week, 10 professional nurses and one doctor will leave Johannesburg for Sierra Leone and the front lines of the Ebola outbreak. According to the non-profit organisation Right to Care, this is the first of many teams slated to go.

Right to Care will be sending its' first group of health professionals to Sierra Leon to go assist with the ebola outbreak

Right to Care will be sending its’ first group of health professionals to Sierra Leone to go assist with the Ebola outbreak (File photo)

By the end of this week, 10 professional nurses and one doctor will leave Johannesburg for Sierra Leone and the front lines of the Ebola outbreak. According to the non-profit organisation Right to Care this is the first of many teams slated to go.

Part of the team is nurse Ishmail Mbulawa, who said he felt it was his duty as a South African to help: “I am ready to make a difference”.

According to Right to Care’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Pappie Majuba, members of the team have been received training on treating the virus and how to stay safe while doing it.

“The most key for us is the infection control,” he told Health-e News. “These are nurses, they will be doing what they know – the only emphasis is that they must remain safe at all times.”

The team will be provided with a salary, flights and per diems. They will also be repatriated back to South Africa for care should they contract the virus, which has killed more than 8,000 people worldwide.

Upon returning, team members will also stay home for three weeks to recover.

“They need to come back and recover and refresh their minds before going back in,” Majuba said.

Soshanguve native nurse Neo Mokone, 28, says she is ready to go.

“My parents are behind me – the only negative elements are from outsiders who think I’m crazy,” Mokone said. “I may be crazy but I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t go.”

“I like making a difference in peoples’ lives,” Mokone added.

South Africa has yet to report any Ebola cases but the Department of Health has trained health care workers and increased surveillance at airports for those travelling from affected countries. – Health-e News.

Edited versions of this story first appeared in the 20 January editions of the Cape Times and The Star newspapers 

About the author

Ayanda Mkhwanazi

Ayanda Mkhwanazi is a senior journalist with Health-e News.