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mercredi 22 octobre 2014


Ebola in Sierra Leone: battling sadness, fear and disgust on the frontline
An MSF psychologist reveals the trauma of dealing with the Ebola outbreak for medics, cleaners and the families of the dead

MSF Medecins Sans Frontiers
In the USA  Doctors without Borders

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was founded in 1971 in France by a group of doctors and journalists in the wake of war and famine in Biafra. Their aim was to establish an independent organization that focuses on delivering emergency medicine aid quickly, effectively and impartially.

Dr Bernard Kouchner who was to become Foreign Minister of France was one of the founding members, so was a French Ambassador to Senegal.
They have about 30 000 workers in about 20 countries around the world. They are at places where emergency care is needed and where medical care does not exist and also take on socially responsible projects such as Rape Victims in Honduras, Refugees in the Sea, setting up field hospitals in war zones and saving lives.
It was recently announced that 1000th survivor of Ebola epidemic was released by MSF from their centre in Liberia.
I wanted to follow up on the story and what I found was even more heartbreaking. This increased my esteem for these volunteers, very well qualified in their fields, who leave their comfortable lives and put their lives on line.

No other single country, let alone a poor and small one like CUBA, can hold a candle to the fire of enthusiasm for International Humanitarian Medicine of CUBA. Currently about 79 000 doctors are serving around 69 countries in the developing world, in places so remote that many people have not heard of them: Tuvalu, Timor Leste, Kiribati, CAR. The list is long. Cuba also educates about 18000 students at their different medical schools so that they can go back to the poorer countries they came from, in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania.
CUBA has sent 165 health professionals, all of them volunteers and plan to send another 300 to the front line to combat Ebola epidemic. The notice for volunteers went out and this is a response from a friend of mine, who is a Psychologist in Baracoa, Cuba
aquí es el mensaje: 
Creo Que la Ayuda y Voluntad de los cubanos en Sierra Leona es de Una Verdadera Misión, y Siento Mucho, Mucho, Mucho, sin Tener La Oportunidad de Poder ir, y HACER Lo Que REALMENTE nos humaniza: el Contacto Con Otros Seres necesitados. Yo estaria muy orgullosa, ogullosa REALMENTE, Si Fuera Médico y Pudiera ir, desde el Fondo d emi Corazón. 

La escritora es una mujer, de 29 años, una madre y embarazada, y un psicóloga líder en Baracoa, Cuba.
When her friend, who is also a Psychologist was asked to volunteer, my dear friend counseled her and said: It would be a great honour for any of us Cubans to serve these people who need our help.

I have always worked with Psychologists in my work and research.  After realizing that a degree in medicine alone was not sufficient to look after the Indians, I went back to London to study Anthropology, so that my own humanitarian vision for the Indians could turn away from the biomedical, machine model to a much more culturally sensitive, human model. I am very lucky to have as good friends the staff at the Psychology Unit of the National Institute of Endocrinology in La Habana, Cuba and I have learned so much from them, especially about the Psychological aspects of Suffering from Chronic Illnesses, especially Diabetes and Hypertension and their complications.
Do we need Psychologists and Anthropologists to combat humanitarian crises whether in Africa such as Ebola Epidemic or at home, to deal with the suffering of patients with Cancer and Diabetes and other illnesses?
I will write a longer blog about MSF Psychologist from Trondheim, Norway, Ane Bjøru Fjeldsæter whose blogs can read at The Guardian UK and also about the 1000th Ebola survivor at the MSF treatment Centre in Liberia!
After reading Ane, you would realize how much a human approach rather than a mechanical approach can help the suffering of patients with any sort of illness or disease.

I dedicate this to my friends and colleagues in CUBA
Rosa Maria LG, Loraine L, Adriana A, Madeline M, Baby F, Yanetsy C and Cari G.