The Ebola virus is epidemic in Liberia, with people left dying in the streets. If a family member has died or if you have symptoms nobody talks about it, because the government has been singularly non-supportive and/or punitive.
Unfortunately, anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola victim and walks away is a ticking time bomb. There are 1.5 million people in Monrovia, the capital city where the infection and death rates are escalating daily. There are critical shortages of all treatment resources from hospital beds to health workers, and vehicles to remove the dead.
Into this lethal outbreak walks Dr. Mosoka Fallah, a 44-year-old epidemiologist/immunologist with extensive experience working in humanitarian crisis with Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Fallah, who now lives in the U.S., grew up in Monrovia’s poorest neighborhood before getting a doctorate in microbiology and immunology at the University of Kentucky, an MPH from Harvard.
Now that the pathogen has been identified and antidotes/vaccines developed, everyone must be informed about how to protect him or herself. Dr. Fallah has plunged into the slums to search for any information about dead or sick people, and remove bodies before the disease spreads. But spreading the word requires a community who believe in what you are saying and doing, who trust that you will deliver, and be there with them.
Dr. Fallah recruited leaders in the community to spread the word, they believed in him, knew he was one of them, and trusted that he would be there with them. Dr. Fallah said (NYT Sept. 14. 2014) if they don’t trust you they’ll hide the body and you’ll never know who has been exposed and the virus will keep spreading. The surveillance teams instruct the community on the use of bleach and water to wash their hands; the youth have raised money to print an eight-page informational pamphlet.
Dr Mosoka Fallah inspires me, he provides living testimony of a compassionate healer, restores my faith in the healing profession, and in our humanity. We treat the sick in hospitals, but we heal and prevent disease ain communities. I made a contribution to their Ebola program in Dr. Fallah’s honor @ www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
P.S. For those of you out there who want to magnify your power to heal come join Mona Polacca and me Dec. 7-9, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. for our Turtle Island Project retreat entitled Rituals and Ceremonies of Healing. Early bird discounts still apply.