A Rhode Island doctor has just returned from Liberia where for three months he trained health care workers fighting the deadly Ebola virus. Dr. Timothy Flanigan is one of several Rhode Islanders who have traveled to the West African nation to fight the disease that the World Health Organization estimates to have killed some 6500 people.
Shortly after arriving back home, he sat down with me to talk about what he saw and where he sees hope.
Nursing homes across Rhode Island will be collecting donations to help fight Ebola in West Africa. That’s because, the state’s nursing home association recognized a need to help its large community of West African workers.
Hospitals have gotten most of the attention when it comes to Ebola preparedness. But at a recent hearing for state lawmakers, questions were raised about the readiness of community-based health care providers to deal with the threat.
Rhode Island is home to one of the nation’s largest Liberian populations, and many Liberian immigrants are students in the state's public schools and universities.
As the Ebola epidemic rages on in her home country, Rhode Island Public Radio education reporter Elisabeth Harrison sat down with Rhode Island College student Charline Early to find out how it has changed life for her and her family.
Ebola continues to dominate headlines, across the nation and here in Rhode Island. This week the state’s hospitals began conducting Ebola preparedness exercises, and all eyes are on a nurse in Maine who defied a quarantine order. But for the thousands of Liberians living in Rhode Island, the real stories are unfolding, often tragically, back home. Now, many Liberians say the public’s fear of Ebola is affecting daily life.
There were times when Ashoka Mukpo didn’t know if he would survive Ebola. Mukpo spent about two and a half weeks in a Nebraska hospital after coming down with Ebola while working as a freelance cameraman in Liberia
He is now back home in Providence.
Mukpo said even thought his symptoms got worse, he knew he was in good hands. After about twelve days he could see in his doctors’ eyes that he was probably going to make it. “I felt that it was manageable, I never felt serious panic coming from any of the nurses,” he said. “So I felt that I was in relatively good hands.”
The Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s currently monitoring several recent arrivals from West Africa to guard against Ebola. But some members of the West African community want the health department to do more.
Citing safety concerns, Brown University has restricted university-sponsored travel to countries in the grips of the Ebola outbreak. The university strongly urged professors and students to avoid personal travel as well, to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.