As the Ebola crisis continues in West Africa, a team from Massachusetts is heading to Liberia to help fight the outbreak.
"I'm feeling very excited about the trip. It's a very important trip and we are going there for a very good reason which is to help Liberia tackle this epidemic before it gets too big to tackle," Dr. Corrado Cancedda said.
His excitement rises from the opportunity to halt the spread of Ebola, the deadly virus that has now killed more than 2,400 people in West Africa. Dr. Cancedda, an infectious diseases specialist who spent more than four years in Rwanda, will join a team of six leaving the offices of Partners in Health on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston and traveling to the contaminated zone in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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Like Dr. Rick Sacra before him, Dr. Cancedda and his team will remarkably risk their own lives to help save the lives of others.
He says he's not all that concerned for his own safety for this trip, calling it fairly low risk. Dr. Cancedda says they'll be meeting with political and medical leaders and staying mostly outside health facilities.
The team will also begin to set up an operation to fill the vast shortfall of people and resources, especially in rural areas, needed to deal with this health crisis.
Partners in Health may be best known to people in New England for its critical work in Haiti, specifically in response to the 2010 earthquake. With 14,000 staff members worldwide, this may be the group's greatest challenge yet.
"We will need every weapon in our arsenal and there really isn't a magic bullet. So experimental drugs are welcome, a vaccine would be welcome. At the end of the day, we need to deliver a system so that the goods get to the people," Dr. Cancedda said.
They will be on the ground in Liberia and Sierra Leone through Sunday, and this is but the first step. Over the next few months, this team is planning to establish a permanent partnership to remain in West Africa.