Published: 14-10-2014 15:54 | Updated: 07-02-2023 10:13

Karolinska Institutet issues a rallying cry in the fight against Ebola

Public authorities and organisations in Sweden are mobilising their resources in an effort to halt the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Karolinska Institutet arranged a meeting to discuss existing challenges in terms of organising aid initiatives and there is a course starting on Monday that will prepare medical staff for their work in the countries most severely hit by Ebola.

In the acute phase, it is primarily trained personnel who are needed on site.

"We cannot rely on organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières being able to cope with the situation. They're already doing all they can. We need to send Swedish medical staff", says Johan von Schreeb, surgeon and senior lecturer in disaster medicine at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Public Health Sciences, one of the instigators of this meeting.

"In order for Swedish medical staff to be able to go and help out, managers from healthcare organisations must allow their staff to go, which is not always the case", says Johan von Schreeb who recently returned home from Sierra Leone, where he was working for the World Health Organization WHO.

Karolinska Institutet's Vice-Chancellor, Anders Hamsten, encourages researchers from Karolinska Institutet to think actively about how they can contribute to halting the spread and deadly effect of Ebola through research collaborations and innovative ideas.

Due to the emergency situation, Karolinska Institutet, along with the Public Health Agency of Sweden and financial support from the National Board of Health and Welfare, has organised a two day course aimed at medical staff who intend to work in the areas affected. The course will teach participants how to curb the spread of Ebola and how to work in the field. The training will initially take place on three occasions, starting on Monday 13 October.

At the meeting, Anneli Eriksson, nurse and project coordinator within disaster medicine at Karolinska Institutet also talked about her experience of working in the field. She recently returned home from one of Médecins Sans Frontières' largest camps outside Monrovia in Liberia.

"The safety of the medical staff is of the highest priority, but preparation is essential if we are to be able to work in a manner that keeps us safe", says Anneli Eriksson.