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Death of Dr. Martin Salia a Big Loss for West Africa

Maggie Fox | NBC News   in 
November 18, 2014

Dr. Martin Salia’s death from Ebola Monday is a loss that Sierra Leone can ill afford. He’s the sixth doctor to die from the virus during this epidemic in Sierra Leone, a country that has few to start with.

Ebola is still spreading out of control in West Africa in part because there are too few health care workers to recognize and fight the virus in the first place. And the epidemic’s not just killing people directly. Its effects are filling up hospitals and clinics with Ebola patients, or forcing their shutdown, leaving people with other health emergencies from childbirth to malaria with nowhere to go.

Salia wasn’t even treating Ebola patients. He was a primary care doctor at a Methodist hospital, probably infected, experts believe, when he was treating a patient for other symptoms without suspecting he or she had the virus.

“Every one that is infected is a tragedy, both for the response and for their family,” said Dr. Emmanuel d’Harcourt, senior health director for the International Rescue Committee.

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