‘The First Thing I Do Is Give Them Courage,’ Medic in Liberia (Video)

The Ebola outbreak means that the streets of Liberia’s capital Monrovia is a city under the fear of death and it’s something ambulance nurse Gordon Kumara deals with on a daily basis.

As a member of one of only 15 ambulances in a city of 1.5 million people, Kumara works from early morning till late at night picking up Monrovia’s sick and dying.

“Our job is to save the people,” says Kumara who is the core of the short documentary above made by The New York Times.

“The calls keep coming, the calls just keep coming. There are patients all over [the city]” he says.

“The first thing I do is give them courage.”

Sometimes that’s all he can offer.

His frustration about the situation his city faces is palpable, especially when they take a sick 17-year-old girl to one of only three centers that provide Ebola treatment only to have her rejected because there’s no more room. Kumara and his team have to return the girl to her home where she dies the next day.

“I’m tired of seeing people getting sick. I don’t rest. Even when I go to bed, sometimes I see them in my dreams,” he says.

Over 4000 people have contracted the disease in Liberia and 2300 of them have died from it.

As an ambulance nurse Kumara has been assisting the sick and dying since March and he’s well aware of the risks he’s taking. To keep his family safe from contracting the virus, they’ve moved away and he hasn’t seen them for five months.

“Because of the condition [of the outbreak], I accept it, that’s how it s supposed to be,” he says.

One of his uncles has been admitted to hospital, the first of his relatives to be diagnosed with the disease.

“There’s no hope here. Ebola will last long,” Kumara says.

“In the next three to four months, the Ebola will be worse.”

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