Call for donations as Ebola crisis threatens twin town

Dr Buck with H.E. the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma.'Photo connected to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link.'September 2014. SUS-140918-132201001
Dr Buck with H.E. the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma.'Photo connected to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link.'September 2014. SUS-140918-132201001
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Hastings twin-town in Sierra Leone, Hastings Village, is on the verge of an Ebola crisis prompting an urgent campaign to get medical supplies to prevent further tragedy after the death of a local charity’s doctor of Ebola.

The Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link (HSLFL) is in a race against time to raise £3,000 to help Hastings Village carry out basic medical care.

A Doctor from the village, Olivet Buck, who worked in partnership with HSLFL and PRIME, an organisation promoting international health partnerships, died after 
contracting Ebola.

There are plans to set up an Ebola isolation unit on the edge of Hastings Village in Sierra Leone. The health centre is run separately from the isolation unit and donations will help it to carry out its normal functions safely.

Dr Buck was highly regarded by local healthcare professionals including Dr John Geater, who knew her through PRIME, based in St Leonards and said: “She was associated with our charity. Olivet was a delightful bubbly person full of passion to improve healthcare in Sierra Leone.

“We are devastated. She was a victim of international indifference, government incompetence and her own deep commitment to the sick.

“We will miss her both as a professional and as a person.”

Dr Buck leaves behind a husband and five children, one of whom was adopted.

Dr Geater said her death was even more tragic because it was preventable. She was one of just 50 doctors in the country and played a leading role in training others and was an expert in palliative care.

Dr Geater said the Sierra Leone government had asked the World Health Organisation to fly her out for treatment in Germany but they refused.

He said there were not even adequate gloves available for doctors in the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, but she and her colleagues went on tending Ebola patients rather than abandon them.

Dr Geater added: “She is the fourth doctor to die due to a lack of basic equipment so it is very urgent that we raise money to help get basic supplies out there.

“It is a tragedy and could have been avoided by coordinated international action several weeks ago. The epidemic is now on the point of being uncontrollable unless massive help is given.”

Donations can be made at http://www.hastingshastings.org.uk/ and you can also help by attending a jumble sale tomorrow( Saturday September 20) at Christ Church, St Leonards from 10am - 12