Dr. Dan Kelly, who left The City for Sierra Leone on Saturday, will act as a consultant to help implement methods for controlling the disease and community health training protocols, such as teaching the importance of using disinfectants, in the country’s Kono District where the first case of Ebola was confirmed in July. Sierra Leone is one of the countries most impacted by the recent virus outbreak.
Kelly plans to work out of Wellbody Alliance, the healthcare organization he co-founded in 2006, and at Koidu Government Hospital, as the region grapples with a lack of infection control training.
“This is a hole in their response plan,” Kelly said of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. “They don’t have enough personnel to do this piece.”
Kelly won’t be directly involved in patient care, but he will visit isolation wards with suspected and potentially confirmed cases of the virus. Though walking in isolation wards alone could expose Kelly to the disease, he said he is willing to take the risk.
“I can’t do a needs-assessment of different facilities unless I walk in,” Kelly said. He will wear full protective gear, including a space suit, and has been in contact with CDC officials to ensure he takes proper precautions.
For Kelly, it’s not a question of whether he should help, it’s a question of how.
“I have very established relationships and good friends that are dying,” Kelly said. “I’m trying to show solidarity and friendship.”
Donations for personal protective gear, infection supplies and other needs are being requested at crowdfund.ucsf.edu. An anonymous donor will match every gift between $250 and $50,000 through Sept. 30.
As of Friday, the CDC has recorded 2,127 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, as well as 1,145 suspected case deaths.