It's been over a month since the first case of cholera appeared at Ebenezer Clinic. I have only been here for two weeks, so I only have a taste of what this time has been like for the regular staff--the ones who don't have the luxury of leaving.
Thankfully, we have been able to relieve their stress a little. On Sunday, Dr. Steve went with his family to the beach for the day. He told us that Saturday night was his first full night of sleep in a month and that Sunday was the first day he didn't go to the since cholera started.
Dr. Manno sporatically appears at the cholera clinic at all hours of the day and night, while also keeping regular hours at Ebenezer and hosting temporary staff in his home.
Some of the nurses we work with at night have been doing 12+ hour nights for weeks without time off.
The two doctors that Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF-Doctors without Borders) hired two weeks ago just got their first weekend off--they have been alternating 12-hour shifts.
Two of the regular staff at the clinic who were assigned to the cholera clinic full time have been putting in 70- and 80-hour weeks with no extra compensation.
These people really need a break.
MSF, a huge organization that responds to international medical crises, just started assisting Ebenezer in organizing it's cholera treatment center. We have seen leaps and bounds of improvements over the last few days. MSF's real goal is to set up a large-scale cholera treatment center in Limbe where small treatment units like Ebenezer can refer patients. If this goes as planned, Ebenezer will be able to close up its cholera treatment center altogether and transition back to normal.
Well, Even MSF, huge as it is, has reached its limits. Apparently, Haitian cholera is the biggest medical crisis it has responded to in its history! But we can only hope that steps are being made in the direction of a large CTC in Limbe--it's the light at the end of the tunnel to which the Ebenezer staff are looking for hope.