Thursday, November 6, 2014

CDC Ebola safety training course

I spent the last three days at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. This is a busy place. There are several groups of students here wearing different colored badges. I'm one of the people with a green badge. We're here for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Safety Training Course for Healthcare Workers Going to West Africa in Response to the2014 Ebola Outbreak.

The course includes lectures on Ebola virus disease (EVD), its transmission, epidemiology, treatment, infection control, and disinfection. The focus of the training is preparing health care professionals to safely work in Ebola treatment units (ETU) in West Africa. Our afternoons are spent in a mock ETU where we practice putting on ("donning") personal protective equipment (PPE), working in PPE, and, most importantly, removing ("doffing") contaminated PPE safely. There is a lot of bleach used throughout the process.
Each time we go through we partner up with another person, assist each other with donning PPE, ensure that there are no breaches (exposed skin or tears in the material), and ensuring that our partner remains safe while in the ETU. On Tuesday only did I learn that the sleeves of an extra large Tyvek coverall are too short for my arms, the back ripped open while I was working in the ETU. I'm very glad that I learned that here and not in Sierra Leone.

I've met the three other people who are going to Sierra Leone with me through Partners In Health. I've also met dozens of other remarkable health care professionals who will be working in West Africa, most of whom have previous experience working in Africa and/or developing countries in other parts of the world.

Chris, Jennifer, Larry, and I will spend a couple of days in Atlanta and then leave for Sierra Leone Saturday. We should arrive in Freetown Sunday evening.

Jennifer, Larry, Chris, and me: before


  1. You are doing a great thing. I wish you safety and professional growth.

    1. Thank you!
      For the most part, I feel like I'm just doing something that needs to be done.
      You're right - this is a great opportunity for both professional and personal growth so, since I'm getting something out of this, I can't claim that my motives are altruistic.