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Ebola junction.

  • Wright, John
  • Audio

About this work


This is an audio diary by Dr John Wright, director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, who travelled to Moyamba in Sierra Leone in November 2014 with other NHS volunteers to set up an Ebola Treatment Centre. The recordings are at the cusp of the opening of the centre; the first three patients arrive seem clinically stable. Chris ? discusses the difficulties of getting to this point - they now feel prepared for the crisis ahead. A male nurse Philip Lancia is a survivor of Ebola and a nurse; he first thought he had Malaria when he became ill. He lost other members of his family to the disease. Other patients have been infected at funerals. The staff are heavily protected with suits; Wright talks about the discomfort of wearing the suits and layers in the intense heat. The Doffing (Undressing) Station is where the staff are doused in chlorine and water. Agnes (?) is a nurse works with children and mothers - she teaches and uses song to educate people. Wright discovers that music is being used widely in Sierra Leone to educate people about the disease; a song is played which, in translation, explains to the listener how to stay safe. The prognosis for the three patients are that the elderly woman and mother have rallied whereas, the man, Ibrahim, who was stable and well upon admission looks critical. Sister Marvel Vincent, a sister at the clinic, talks about the problem of teenage pregnancies as a result of young women going into prostitution to feed their families in the face of the crisis and the collapse of the economy. It is discovered that people are having secret funerals and looking after their sick in the community (thus encouraging the spread of the disease). Wright goes along with a team of investigators; they have military armed support. Local chiefs are taken to task about these accusations; they risk losing their position. It's Christmas Eve and a hamper is donated to the military staff and each of the Ebola Treatment Centre have been given a cow from the president. Ambulances arrive with many sick patients; one of the patients is a two-year-old girl - possibly an orphan. Ibrahim dies. Wright knows that he could be highly contagious. Wright visits a cemetery; it's a peaceful place. Grave markers are provided, which differs from other centres. The grave diggers are very busy and sanguine about their jobs. Wright finishes his tour of duty, goes home and then, despite screening, finds out that a fellow NHS worker is Ebola positive. Wright continues to test his temperature twice daily worried about the outcome - close to the end of the risk period (8-10 days), he begins to feel unwell. Is it flu? Or Ebola? He ponders the malevolency of the disease. He goes to St James' Hospital, Leeds. He talks us through the experience of isolation; the definitive blood test will take 17 hours - it's negative.


UK : BBC Radio 4, 2015.

Physical description

1 CD (28 min).


Broadcast on 24 February 2015

Creator/production credits

Produced by Susan Mitchell.
Narrated by John Wright.

Copyright note

BBC Radio 4



  • English

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