Providing Care for Women and Children During the West African Ebola Epidemic: A Volunteer Physician’s Experiences in Makeni, Sierra Leone

  • Emily Bayne
Part of the Global Maternal and Child Health book series (GMCH)


I spent 6 months working as a medical doctor in Sierra Leone during the West African Ebola Outbreak. As the months passed, I witnessed much suffering and sadness. I comforted family members as they watched their loved ones dying. I fought the unimaginable heat of our Personal Protective Equipment as I tried to provide what treatment and care I could for patients. I watched a grandfather as he buried his 4-year-old daughter; a service over in a matter of seconds as a tiny white bag was lowered into the dirt. However, there were moments of joy in among the sadness. I witnessed the first handprint on our survivor wall, and I danced and sang through many discharge ceremonies. I was privileged to see our survivor wall grow as handprints were added. Despite everything that happened at the Treatment Centre, I saw unimaginable resilience and kindness. All of the work I did was with a truly inspiring team of dedicated national and international staff; all striving to help those affected by Ebola.


Ebola virus disease Ebola Makeni Sierra Leone Ebola treatment centre Volunteer physician Personal protective equipment Training Bombali District International response Pregnancy Maternal mortality Infant mortality Ebola orphans Survivors Pediatric care Volunteerism 


  1. BBC. (2014). Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone bans Christmas celebrations. BBC News Online. Retrieved November 1, 2017, from
  2. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (2014). Ebola outbreak in West Africa—Case counts. Retrieved November 1, 2017, from
  3. Jamieson, D. J., Uyeki, T. M., Callaghan, W. M., Meaney-Delman, D., & Rasmussen, S. A. (2014). What obstetrician-gynecologist should know about Ebola: A perspective from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 124(5), 1005–1010. Scholar
  4. Malm, S. (2014). Sierra Leone forced to cancel Christmas over Ebola. Mail Online. Retrieved November 2, 2017, from
  5. Medecins Sans Frontieres. (2014). Pregnant women in Ebola Treatment Centre. Guidance paper. Retrieved November 5, 2017, from
  6. Mupapa, K., Mukundu, W., Bwaka, M. A., Kipasa, M., De Roo, A., Kuvula, K., et al. (1999). Ebola hemorrhagic fever and pregnancy. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 179(Suppl_1), S11–S12. Scholar
  7. Rothe, D., Gallinetti, J., Lagaay, M., & Campbell, C. (2015). Ebola: beyond the health emergency. Summary of research into the consequences of the Ebola outbreak for children and communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Plan International. Report. Retrieved November 4, 2017, from
  8. The Infolist. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2017, from
  9. UNICEF. (2015). Sierra Leone Ebola Situation Report 29 January 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2017, from
  10. United Nations. (2017). Country profile: Sierra Leone. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from
  11. WHO. (2014, August 8). Statement on the 1st meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Retrieved November 5, 2017, from

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Bayne
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Health ServiceKendalGreat Britain
  2. 2.International Medical CorpsBombali DistrictSierra Leone

Personalised recommendations