Letters to the Editor

September 1, 2014

Reed Altman: Doctors needed in Liberia

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia from 1986 to 1988. I went in knowing there was a shortage of medical staff and facilities (around 1.4 per 100,000, according to WHO). Our medical handbook was even titled, “Where there is no Doctor.”

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia from 1986 to 1988. I went in knowing there was a shortage of medical staff and facilities (around 1.4 per 100,000, according to WHO). Our medical handbook was even titled, “Where there is no Doctor.”

I was confident that the training the Peace Corps gave us was adequate for me to take care of myself and, in spite of three cases of malaria and a boil that nearly burrowed as deep as my femur, I think I came out relatively unscathed.

Reading recent headlines about the need for more aid workers, I assumed that the Ebola virus was just so scary that Liberians were understandably reluctant to step forward for training; shame on me. It turns out there are more than enough brave Liberians to meet the need. In a recent NPR segment, it was stated that hundreds of Liberians seeking training to combat Ebola had to be turned away in the pouring rain.

It is internationally trained doctors and outbreak coordinators who are lacking. I call on such professionals, in fact, I beg of them to please step forward to help my brothers and sisters in Liberia.

Reed Altman

Raleigh

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