Minnesota doctors and nurses flown to Africa to assist in Ebola fight


Minnesota is doing its bit to fight the Ebola crisis afflicting countries in West Africa by sending a team of doctors and nurses to assist in the recovery effort.

Wednesday the Twin Cities-based charity American Refugee Committee sent a group of 11 doctors and nurses, most of whom are from Minnesota, to assist on the eastern border of Ebola-hit Liberia, MPR reports.

Four out of the 11 are Liberian-Americans returning to help wherever they can in their homeland. Among them is nurse Doris Parker, of Brooklyn Park.

"I have a strong conviction this is what I need to do,” the medical surgical nurse told the Associated Press. "As a nurse, we're trained to help, to take care of the sick."

Parker, who has lived in Minneapolis for 28 years, says the Liberian community in the Twin Cities is a tight-knit group. She knew Patrick Sawyer, the former Coon Rapids man who was the first American to die of the Ebola virus while in Nigeria.

It is not surprising therefore that members of the Twin Cities' West African community feel the need to make a difference to ensure the area's safety for future generations.

John Paye, a 61-year-old nurse also from Coon Rapids, told MPR his daughter and grandson live in the Liberian capital of Monrovia.

"If I retire, how would I go back home?" he asked the station. "Where would I call home? Where would my grandchildren visit grandpa?"

The ARC says once over there, the plan for the team will be to set up a "mini-hospital" in a remote area of the country. It adds that it could send another 25 volunteers from across the U.S in the next six months, the Huffington Post reports.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said Wednesday its "worst case scenario" for the virus' spread in Africa – which estimated 1.4 million people could be affected by January – will not come true, according to ABC News.

ABC notes that a surge in medical aid and supplies to the area has helped slow the growth of the epidemic in Liberia, but there are still major problems controlling the outbreak in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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