Flying into the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic

On the flight from Brussels to Monrovia (Liberia), it literally was a “plane full of good Samaritans.” Almost everyone on board was going to help with the Ebola epidemic.

There were dozens of U.S. military personnel, a bunch of medical teams from NGOs and a few guys wearing hats that had “public health” written on them.

The two men sitting next to me were U.S. Army engineers coming to build an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. One of the guys said he was happy to finally be using his engineering skills to build something instead of just searching for bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The three women sitting behind me on the plane were health workers coming to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders. They had taken time off from their jobs for the trip and had just spent four days learning to treat Ebola patients at a mock Ebola treatment center in Brussels.

With the third Ebola case reported in the U.S. last week, we’ve been hearing so much about shutting down commercial flights to and from West Africa. Sitting on the plane to Monrovia, I was struck by how essential these flights are to stopping the epidemic and getting help to millions of people.

[NPR]

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