Sunday, December 16, 2007
Today Scott stood up to introduce Fred Lubwasa in church—Fred is a UPDF soldier and nurse who volunteered to work in the isolation unit back when we didn’t understand the epidemic, then stayed on when he knew it was Ebola. We first met him three weeks ago, the first time we were examining patients there. His exposure led to infection, and he battled for his life. Now discharged, he thanked Scott for the prayers of the people, so Scott invited him to church. As they stood together, Scott put his arm around him and shook his hand to show that post-Ebola patients are not infectious and should not be ostracized. He pointed out that God looks at the heart and in God’s kingdom this nurse is a “Big Man.”
We are also posting some additional pictures today of the other Heroes of Ebola.
Rosa Crestani, the MSF Medical Coordinator who led the advance team, moving in to create order in the chaos, passionately caring, with that core of steel that allows her to do her job even when criticized by politicians (and she’s had plenty of that in the meetings!).
Dr. Yoti Zabulon, the energetic and patient young doctor, who survived the Gulu Ebola epidemic of the year 2000 and then pursued a career in Infectious Diseases with the WHO in Uganda, flying to every trouble zone in the country to offer service, leadership, and wisdom.
Our Resident District Commissioner Sam Kazinga, who represents the President's Office to the District, with his commanding presence and insistence on work, pulling all the agencies together and keeping the Ebola District Task Force focused on their task, dispelling rumor and insisting on excellence.
Monday Julius, the Clinical Officer In-Charge at Kikyo Health Unit, who has been caring for Ebola patients at the epicenter since it began, seeing more Ebola patients than any other person in the district...and who has managed not to get sick with the disease!
And there are many others, the fresh faces from CDC who track contacts and draw blood samples and diagram transmission chains. The voices of experience from WHO and elsewhere who have seen this all before and know what to do next. The doctors from Ministry of Health who left their homes and families behind to shore up the devastated medical system here. The committed and competent field workers from the Red Cross who scour the district for contacts and cases.
Dr. Ian Clarke writes a weekly column, and in today’s he praises two doctors in Kampala working with paediatric AIDS. In that same spirit we applaud the heroes we’ve seen here. Just when one is tempted to despair over Uganda, these people remind us that God has his people everywhere, fighting the good fight, showing mercy, using their talents to serve others.