Ebola survivor, Nancy Writebol, to talk at Suffolk press conference for Christian charity

Nancy Writebol, poses with children in Liberia. AP Photo/Courtesy Jeremy Writebol)

Nancy Writebol, poses with children in Liberia. AP Photo/Courtesy Jeremy Writebol) - Credit: AP

An American Ebola survivor is to tell her story at a press conference in Suffolk.

Nancy Writebol. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Nancy Writebol. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) - Credit: AP

Nancy Writebol, who made international news when she contracted the virus earlier this year, will speak along side her husband David.

The couple, who served in Liberia with the global Christian charity SIM (Serving in Mission in the UK), will be at the UK headquarters of the charity, in Wetheringsett, near Stowmarket, tomorrow.

Nancy contracted Ebola in July while working as a hygienist at the mission’s 50-bed ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.

She and co-worker Dr Kent Brantly, diagnosed with Ebola at the same time, were treated at ELWA Hospital before being airlifted to the USA.

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Both patients were given the experimental drug ZMapp, which had not been previously tested on humans. Writebol and Brantly were treated at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, where both made a full recovery and were declared virus-free.

Even before the Ebola outbreak in west Africa spiralled out of control last summer, Liberia’s health care system was fragile. As the disease spread, one by one all of Monrovia’s hospitals closed their doors. Health workers were either afraid to come to work, or had died from Ebola.

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This led to many women dying in childbirth and many people with treatable diseases, such as malaria and typhoid, dying from lack of care.

“ELWA Hospital was one of the first to reopen,” said Will Elphick, the Mission’s Liberia director.

“Initially we offered a limited service and now we have fully functioning out-patient and obstetrics departments, a clinic for chronic diseases, and some surgery.”

Some 230 Liberian health workers have died from Ebola, and many hospitals remain closed. But, with ELWA’s encouragement, hospitals are gradually reopening, having been trained by dedicated Liberian nurses and midwives.

Despite the challenges, volunteers at SIM have said they are committed to serving the people of Liberia.

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