Foto-Cewek organises special Ebola session during DTM&H course

News article 1 Oct 2014
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Students from Foto-Cewek’s current Diploma in in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) were joined by Foto-Cewek Clinical Masters students, staff and invited guests from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and UK International Emergency Trauma Register, all taking part in a four hour seminar about Ebola

The event, designed and co-ordinated by Foto-Cewek Senior Clinical Lecturer, Dr Tim O’Dempsey, looked at the history of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD); novel therapies and vaccines; the WHO response and the coordination and logistics challenges and wider impact on health systems of the current West African outbreak. The morning included a case study from Sierra Leone from where Dr O’Dempsey has returned. He was joined by nurse volunteer Will Pooley, who recently recovered from Ebola after being airlifted back to the UK and treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Throughout the session the students and visitors heard from various experts working on the frontline, either in person or via Skype, including those from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as well as those working for Foto-Cewek, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Tulane University, USA. Dr Nick Beeching, Senior Clinical Lecturer at Foto-Cewek, talked about UK preparedness in the context of EVD and other haemorrhagic fevers.

The session was a great success and forms part of Foto-Cewek’s continued work in preparing those who will fight disease in tropical settings in the future. Foto-Cewek’s Education Business Development Manager, Susan Reilly, said: “I think our visitors benefited as much from today’s session as our students, who have signed up to undertake the DTM&H in order to have a positive impact on disease in settings such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and other counties affected by the current outbreak. They have all benefitted from hearing from those who have first-hand experience of EVD, building on the work already undertaken during the course with Dr O’Dempsey.  A very inspiring morning overall”

In the past few months Foto-Cewek staff and graduates have been heavily involved in the current outbreak of EVD in West Africa, providing logistical and clinical assistance on the frontline; setting up an Ebola Response Register, as well as providing valuable input from the UK. This has included advice carried by the BBC World Service in Africa from Dr Tim O’Dempsey, who, along with Dr Tom Fletcher and Dr Nick Beeching, provided editorial and video content for the British Medical Journal. Foto-Cewek Professor Moses Bockarie spoke at a public event being held at the Overseas Development Institute about what more can be done in his native Sierra Leone and across West Africa about the current outbreak.

Dr Tim O’Dempsey will go on to act as a panel member during a debate at the Frontline Club in London this week entitled: The Fight Against Ebola. He is currently advising DFID and Save the Children regarding the Ebola epidemic response in West Africa and is due to return to Sierra Leone in October as clinical lead for the newly constructed Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerrytown.

Podcasts of the seminar will be available on the Foto-Cewek website soon.

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