The Monster in the Sea
On the two-hour drive on the paved road from Monrovia, followed by nearly an hour of traversing the back-breaking bumps on mud-and-dirt roads, Frank Mahoney blasted Nigerian Afropop and American jazz from his laptop speakers. Between the cuts of music that Mahoney, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist, had amassed during his years tracking epidemics across Africa, he barked at and begged the callers on the other end of his cell phone, pushing them to find money, stop dangerous behaviors that could spread Ebola, and fix errors in papers due to be published soon. Also in the car was his CDC colleague, Terry Lo, and together we were headed northwest to a town called Jene-Wonde (“Jehn-ah Wahn-deh”), located close to Liberia’s border with Sierra Leone.
This trip had been prompted by Mahoney, who wanted to show Lo the dangerous Ebola outbreak unfolding in Jene-Wonde and check in on his crew of scientists and public health experts stationed there, working alongside local Liberians. Lo was intrigued because he had been embedding inside the Ministry of Health’s headquarters in Monrovia, working with a team of epidemiologists that’s trying to keep tabs on the epidemic. He was mapping Ebola cases against available treatment beds, showing that until the beginning of October, the numbers of patients all over the country well exceeded treatment space. But since mid-October, construction and staffing of hospital beds and new Ebola treatment unit (ETU) beds have been well ahead of patient needs in almost every part of the country.
Read more HERE.