Sheik Umar Khan, a virologist, has just been diagnosed with the Ebola virus He has treated more than 100 patients with the deadly disease and was admitted earlier this week to a high containment treatment facility, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the government. A source inside the ward told Reuters that the doctor is receiving treatment, though no details were given on his current state of health.
Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called Khan a "national hero" and said she would "do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives," Reuters reports.
Khan, 39 years old, is one of many health care workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who has contracted the disease as a result of firsthand involvement. Though health workers in the region are required to be thoroughly covered in protective gear, many who are tending to the ill have contracted the virus. A BBC reporter at a clinic in Freetown in Sierra Leone said dozens of nurses at a government hospital went on strike on Monday after three health care works died from suspected Ebola infections.
n June, Khan told Reuters that he had installed a mirror in his office at the clinic in Kenema so he could check to be sure there weren't any holes in the back of his protective gear before he entered the treatment facility to care for patients. "I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life," he told the reporter from Reuters. "Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk."
As of July 12, there have been 964 incidences of Ebola and 603 deaths due virus in this area of West Africa since the outbreak first emerged in February, according to the World Health Organization. The virus has maintained a stronghold on the region because of the insufficient borders that separate the three countries. Experts say this current outbreak is the largest in the history.
There are very few people who can properly be called heroes. Sheik Umar Khan and the first line nurses in Sierra Leone are the rare shinning lights of humanity who when mortal danger presents itself they place their lives on the line to assure the safety of others. The Ebola is a virus which has a 90 percent kill rate, meaning if you contract the virus you will, in all likelihood die a horrible death.
I personally hope and pray that Sheik Umar Khan and the rest of the first line healthcare workers who are defending the rest of humanity survive this terrible virus. I would also ask my fellow Americans to donate what ever they can spare to the refile effort under way in Sierra Leone. May Almighty GOD see the brave souls afflicted with this horrible disease safely through their dark night. I also pray that GOD have mercy on the rest of us, because if just one of those infected with Ebola made it to a major metropolitan city the whole world could be next...
Here is how to donate and help those on the front lines: