PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Responding to the need for gear that can protect health workers in Africa from exposure to the Ebola virus, global health faculty, staff, and students at Brown University and the Miriam Hospital have shipped supplies to Liberia.
In countries currently battling the Ebola outbreak — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — the needs are both immense and basic. Gloves, masks, hats, gowns, shoe coverings, and other protective gear for health workers can make the difference between a doctor, nurse, or orderly continuing to care for patients or becoming a patient.
Eager to help, even from thousands of miles away, infectious disease staff in the Global Health Institute at the Brown University School of Public Health, the Alpert Medical School, and the Miriam Hospital have pitched in with a substantial dose of these needed supplies.
“When people are very ill with Ebola, the rate of viral replication is exceptionally high and therefore the virus is shed in bodily fluids,” said Dr. Tim Flanigan, professor of medicine at Brown and a physician at The Miriam. “Health care workers are particularly at risk. [The items of equipment] are things that are quite mundane, but critically important.”
On Wednesday evening, Aug. 13, Flanigan drove more than $2,000 worth of supplies, purchased at Home Depot, to Harrison, N.Y., for shipment to Liberia via the Salesian Missions.
Brown doctors may yet do more. Flanigan said he and at least one other colleague have made contacts with nongovernmental organizations, in his case the Catholic Diocese of Monrovia, to fly there to help.