LUBBOCK, TX—The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is affecting a local humanitarian group, who has a team stationed in Sierra Leone.
The virus, which the Center for Disease Control is now calling one of the largest and most complex outbreaks in recent history, has struck full force in the country of Sierra Leone.
Teethsavers International, a Lubbock humanitarian group, has provided dental care abroad for 8 years. Retired dentists, Dr. David Midkiff and Dr. Ron Smith, were in Sierra Leone last year when Ebola started to spread.
“It was first at the border so it did not affect our team, so we could just stay away from that area,” Dr. David Midkiff said. “Now, it has encompassed the entire country and the country is under restriction by their health facility and the government, so our team cannot go out into the rural areas to help the people there.”
The dentists said that they are grateful for their team in Sierra Leone, but are also concerned for their colleagues’ health.
“We are under constant contact with them,” Dr. Midkiff said. “We hear from them and know they are safe and know they are working, but know that they are restricted. Of course we are concerned for their health; they work with patients that could potentially be exposed to Ebola.”
Teethsavers bi-annual trip to Sierra Leone in September has been cancelled due to the country’s travel restrictions. And in the meantime, they have been constantly sending the critical dental supplies to their team stationed there.
“We appreciate the team there and how dedicated they are. It’s just amazing to work with these people who devote their lives to these little children who have nothing.”