Italy: From Ebola to COVID-19, frontline doctors draw on Sierra Leone experience in Bergamo

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A doctor with the Italian ‘Emergency’ medical association reflected on helping to deal with the health crisis brought on by COVID-19 in an interview in Bergamao on Wednesday, in which she said her team were drawing on their prior experiences of battling an outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Daniela De Serio originally from Lamezia Terme in the south of Italy has been working at an improvised field hospital recently set up to treat infected patients.

The organisation she works for, Emergency, has been taking care of patients affected by COVID-19 at the premises of the Bergamo Fair-turned-hospital.

“We are satisfied. We have succeeded in reducing mechanical support for two incubated patients that were in critical condition,” said Daniela De Serio.

She added that much of the current team got its first experience in Sierra Leone during an Ebola outbreak.

“Three-quarters of the staff working in the COVID department got their field experience during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone a few years ago,” she said.

“We learned so much from a logistics point of view on how to build a working structure which takes into account the staff flow, how to distinguish a clean area from a dirty one and thus maintain a zone free of any virus,” she added.

Emergency manages a 12-bed ICU unit with a staff currently made up of 34 operators including 10

doctors, 14 nurses and four physiotherapists.

Their staff is expected to further increase in the upcoming days.

Video ID: 20200408-043

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