MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A nurse from the Twin Cities just returned Monday night from Sierra Leone — one of the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Carrie Jo Cain, of Fridley, Minn., spent a week and a half there training hospital workers, dealing with Ebola patients and teaching community leaders how to stop the spread of the disease.READ MORE: Crash Closes Highway 14 In Both Directions Near Owatonna
She is a nurse in the emergency room at St. Paul Children’s Hospital, and she grew up in Sierra Leone because her parents were missionaries there.
When the Ebola crisis hit this year, Cain knew she had to take her years of medical expertise back home to help her fellow hospital workers stay safe.
Cain arrived in the town of Kamakwie with a truckload of supplies flown in from the United States.
She explained how to wear the protective gowns and masks, properly. And how to take them off, safely.
She listened to how there is distrust of hospitals.
“The people who have symptoms are running from health care and running to other family members in other parts of the country and infecting more people,” she said.
Cain showed us photos of the hospital where she led her training sessions.
As she traveled the region she saw people taking steps to stop the spread of Ebola, like frequent handwashing.READ MORE: 1 Of 5 Men Injured In Minneapolis Shooting Dies
“Everywhere you go, every business, every place of worship, everything has a chlorine bucket outside. You have to wash your hands,” she said.
But she says people are still holding on to some common customs that could be deadly, like urinating in grassy areas along roads.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids.
“That part is missing from the message,” Cain said. “It’s not anywhere in the written messages that are out…in the posters, it’s not there.”
She says she was able to have frank conversations with people in their native language, and those face-to-face meetings may prove to be vital.
“They’re all like… ‘No one has told us that. No one has said that. Thank you so much for bringing us that information.’ Those are key things and pieces of the puzzle that were missing,” Cain said.
She says family members in Sierra Leone strongly believe in taking care of one another and so there is a reluctance to leave home and go to an Ebola treatment center that’s run by strangers.
Also, many of those places are poorly staffed, because workers are afraid they will get the disease.MORE NEWS: Colin Powell Dies Of COVID Complications At 84 (CBS News)
According to the World Health Organization, 2,288 of the approximately 4,200 people with Ebola in West Africa have died.