Schlagwort-Archiv: quarantine

3 days lockdown in Freetown

Within the framework of the “Zero Ebola Campaign” the sierra-leonean government, or rather the “NERC” (National Ebola Response Committee), announced a three days lockdown. During the lockdown it is foreseen to do house-to-house checks for sick people who will then immediately be transferred to a treatment centre. The objective is to identify ALL sick people countrywide and to finally get to 0 new cases. The campaign will run for several weeks. It was announced already that in April more locked down weekends are planned.
What does that mean to me as a humanitarian aid worker? Of course, UN, government and NGOs enjoy exceptions. It was announced that a special passport will be necessary for free movement during the lockdown and this passport I received from my employer. Nevertheless, such a lockdown requires certain ahead-planning. Storing enough food for three days in the tropics without electricity? Not easy, if you want to eat something else than cookies. Here a picture of my groceries:

In the WHH Ebola Response WhatsApp Group interesting advice was circulated, for instance this nice compilation here:

Friday, day 1: I regarded this day as a normal working day and went to the office early in the morning. I’ve never before travelled so quickly from my house to the office, I think it took me less than 10 min, compared to usually 25 min. The traffic in Freetown is a nightmare, especially at roundabouts, and you waste a lot of time in the traffic usually. In the office it was nice and quiet, because most colleagues stayed at home. It was perfect to work through long pending documents. It was nice, indeed!

Saturday and Sunday, day 2 and 3: I stayed at home as required by a lockdown. It was a good opportunity to observe how the local people pass their time during a lockdown. Children were playing ball games in hidden corners. Teenager were sitting on the stairs in front of their houses to have a chat. One woman put a chair in front of her door and braided the hair of almost the whole of the female neighbourhood.

All in all the lockdown was a positive experience from my perspective. I had a quiet working space and a weekend at home is not bad to calm down from the busy day-to-day life. Whether the lockdown contributed positively to the fight against Ebola, I do not know.

This article is a translation of the original German Article by Julia

Julia Broska

Julia arbeitet für die Welthungerhilfe im Projektmanagement in Sierra Leone. Sie beschreibt in diesem Blog ihre persönlichen Eindrücke. Ihre Meinung muss sich nicht mit der der Welthungerhilfe decken. Bevor Julia nach Sierra Leone kam war sie in Nord Korea im Einsatz. Sie schreibt auch Artikel für den offiziellen Blog der Welthungerhilfe

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3 Tage Lock-down in Freetown

3 Tage Lock-down in Freetown
Im Zuge der “Zero Ebola Campaign” hat die sierra-leonische Regierung, genauer genommen der “NERC” (National Ebola Response Committee), eine 3 tägige Ausgangssperre landesweit verhängt. Während dieser Zeit soll gleichzeitig nach Kranken gesucht werden, die dann direkt in Behandlungszentren überführt werden. Ziel ist es, ALLE Kranken landesweit zu identifizieren und so endlich auf 0 zu kommen, was die Neuinfektionen betrifft. Die Kampagne läuft insgesamt mehrere Wochen, im April wird es an drei weiteren Wochenenden zu Ausgangssperren kommen, dies wurde bereits angekündigt.

Was bedeutet das für mich als Mitarbeiterin in der Ebola-Antwort? Natürlich werden für UN, Regierung und NGOs Ausnahmen gemacht. Es wurde vorher auf die Notwendigkeit eines speziellen Ausweises aufmerksam gemacht und diesen habe ich auch von meinem Arbeitgeber erhalten. Trotzdem erfordert ein solcher lock-down eine gewisse Planung. Drei Tage Essen lagern in den Tropen ohne Strom? Nicht einfach, wenn man sich nicht ausschließlich von Keksen ernähren will. Hier ein Bild meiner Einkäufe:

In der WHH Ebola Response WhatsApp Gruppe wurden interessante Ratschläge rumgeschickt, z.B. diese Liste hier:

„Meine Lockdown-Liste
1. Essen (Kinder, Erwachsene und spezielle Ernährungen)
2. Wasser (viel, denn man trinkt mehr, wenn man sich nicht bewegt)
3. Medikamente (Schmerzmittel, Imodium, Malaria-Medikamente, wenn Du Kinder hast, auch essentielle Medikamente für Kinder)
4. Lade Dein Handy auf (und kaufe eine zusätzliche Auflade-Karte für Notfälle)
5. Lade den Stromzähler mit Geld auf
6. Wenn Du einen Generator hast, kaufe Benzin, auch falls Du ein Auto hast
7. Zahle Dein Pay-TV Abonnement
8. Feuerzeug oder Streichhölzer
9. Besorge Dir ein gutes Buch, Filme, Brettspiele oder irgendwas anderes, was Dir Spaß macht, denn er wird wirklich langweilig
10. Falls Du Hausangestellte hast, kaufe etwas für sie (es ist zwar noch nicht Monatsende, aber komm schon!)
11. Kaufe was für Deine armen Nachbarn, damit sie nicht während des lockdowns an Deine Tür klopfen“

Freitag, Tag 1, habe ich als normalen Arbeitstag aufgefasst und bin morgens ins Büro. Noch nie war ich so schnell von meinem Wohnort im Büro, ich glaube, der Weg hat keine 10 min gedauert, im Vergleich zu sonst guten 25 min. Der Verkehr in Freetown, besonders an bestimmten Kreisverkehren, ist katastrophal und kostet normalerweise Unmengen an Zeit. Im Büro war es schön ruhig, da nur wenige Kollegen da waren, und ich konnte richtig gut was abarbeiten. Das hat mir gefallen!

Samstag und Sonntag, Tag 2 und 3, bin ich zuhause geblieben, wie vorgesehen. Das war eine gute Gelegenheit um zu beobachten, was die Einheimischen eigentlich so machen während eines lock-downs. Kinder haben in versteckten Ecken Ball gespielt. Jugendliche haben sich auf die Treppenstufen vor’s Haus gesetzt und gequatscht. Eine Frau hat einen Stuhl vor die Tür gestellt und praktisch der gesamten weiblichen Nachbarschaft die Haare neu geflochten.
Alles in allem war der lock-down eigentlich recht positiv für mich. Man hatte seine Ruhe im Büro und ein Wochenende zuhause ist ja auch nicht verkehrt, um mal ganz abzuschalten . Ob der lock-down auch für den Kampf gegen Ebola etwas Positives beitragen konnte, mag dahingestellt bleiben.

Julia Broska

Julia arbeitet für die Welthungerhilfe im Projektmanagement in Sierra Leone. Sie beschreibt in diesem Blog ihre persönlichen Eindrücke. Ihre Meinung muss sich nicht mit der der Welthungerhilfe decken. Bevor Julia nach Sierra Leone kam war sie in Nord Korea im Einsatz. Sie schreibt auch Artikel für den offiziellen Blog der Welthungerhilfe

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Julia visiting Germany

2 Weeks ago Julia visited me during her vacation in Germany. 10 days before I met her she was still in Sierra Leone in Freetown. This is the place where the Ebola outbreak is raging most. As I met her it was not clear whether she was infected by the virus or not. Yes there are health checks when entering Germany at the Airport but we all know the incubation time of Ebola is between 2 and 21 days. I was wondering how I would welcome Julia. I decided that I would rely on the two facts that she measures her temperature regularly and that Ebola is only infecting once you can see the symptoms.

Only a few hours before she arrived at my place I had a friend with me who worked for MSF and now for save the children. He informed me again that Ebola is about the most aggressive virus and that many people in the health sector refuse to go to Ebola affected regions because it is just too dangerous. He pointed out that there is an obvious reason that the belongings of infected people are completely burned down. He emphasized that this is not due to the fact that Ebola is only transferred via body fluids. I became insecure again.

We had a long discussion about all the stuff that I have learned from Julias work, this blog, Wikipedia and the reports by print and online media. I couldn’t get the information that I had gathered so far straight in order to make a qualified decision. I think my friend had a very valid point about burning down all the belongings. So could it indeed be possible that Julia was infected but didn’t show symptoms yet and would it be possible that Julia left the virus in my flat without me and her even touching each other?

Suddenly Julia was at my doorstep. I let her come in. I was still not sure if I wanted to touch Julia. By our culture it would have been reasonable to give her a short hug. Only after raising my concerns and having Julia repeating them I felt ashamed and decided to overcome my fear and give her a hug. I was mad at myself. Julia was very patient and did not pressure me. In fact she was very respectful. In fact it was her who taught me through this blog that sticking to customs and cultural habits is one of the worst things during the Ebola outbreak. She frequently described how prevention would be much easier if people would have a better education. So I wonder how it can be possible that I as an educated person who still has doubt about security can act in such an insecure way?

I made pasta and salad for Julia. We decided to also visit a bar. On our way I bought some disinfection spray. I was a little overwhelmed by the big offer of our local department store. Some sprays where only for some flue viruses and many where not supposed to have hand contact. I decided for one of the stronger sprays.

Our time in the bar was interesting. I learnt that Julia didn’t measure her temperature since she was back in Germany. She stated that she new her body and would in particular know if she became sick. Yes I had read these words in this particular blog before but the circumstances have been different. She was clearly in Sierra leone where she had several public health checks per day anyway. Here in Germany I thought her behavior was kind of risky. But she stuck to her point that she was on vacation and in particular happy that she could get a break of constantly measuring temperature. She said that she did not even carry a thermometer with her.

As I returned at my flat I started to disinfect the entire place. I placed the medium on everything that I was aware of had contact with Julia. Even when I only assumed Julia had contact with it it became disinfected. In particular there are the plates, fork, knife and cup that have been used by Julia during dinner. I cleaned the dishes under my shower since I did not want to have the potential virus in my kitchen. I disinfected the dishes another time an placed them on my balcony which so far I did not enter again. Today two weeks later the dishes are still on my balcony. By know I can be sure that Julia was not affected since she is more than 20 days out of Sierra Leone. But I will give myself a buffer of another week. After that time i will start to use the dishes and the balcony again.

Overall it was a strange experience to welcome a close person whose contact could potentially result in an deathly endeavor. I admire Julia a lot for her courage to fight Ebola and literally to go over the minefield. Obviously I would not be able to do so since I was even overwhelmed by her visit in Germany.

This article is a translation of my original german version

Rene

Rene ist PhD Student und blogger. Er setzt sich fuer freies Wissen und freie Bildung ein. Dadurch ist er auf wikiversity, wikimedia commons und gelegentlich auf der Wikipedia aktiv. Er unterstuetzt Julia ihre Erfahrungen aus Sierra Leone zu verbreiten.

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Fear of returning from Ebola affected regions back to Europe / Germany

It might be in the far future, but every now and then the thought pops up:

  • How will friends and family react when I return?
  • Will they avoid me?
  • Will they tell me made-up stories in order to prevent a meeting?
  • Will my family count-down the days and only welcome me after 21 have past?
  • And what is my own position?
  • Am I a risk for my family?
  • Should I avoid contact on my own initiative to protect my loved ones?
  • Should I put myself in quarantine for 21 days?

Reports from others show, the reactions are mixed. And this is also what I expect to encounter in my own environment. Initially I had planned to participate in a yoga retreat in March. But could I do so now? Could I carry the responsibility? Body contact, after sweat drenching exercise, is unavoidable. Should I keep my duty station secret? Even lie?

I say it straight forward: I haven’t done my decision yet. You might think I’m a bad person and that I’m knowingly put others at risk. But the facts are on my side: Only after developing signs of a sickness, an Ebola patient becomes contagious. As long as you keep certain procedures and keep up regular monitoring, measure your temperature and observe suspicious symptoms, there is practically no risk for your contact group.

However, doubts remain. How can I act responsible and avoid spending my annual leave in self-made quarantine at the same time?

This article is my translation of the original German post.

Julia Broska

Julia arbeitet für die Welthungerhilfe im Projektmanagement in Sierra Leone. Sie beschreibt in diesem Blog ihre persönlichen Eindrücke. Ihre Meinung muss sich nicht mit der der Welthungerhilfe decken. Bevor Julia nach Sierra Leone kam war sie in Nord Korea im Einsatz. Sie schreibt auch Artikel für den offiziellen Blog der Welthungerhilfe

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