Written by Staff Sgt. Terrance Rhodes
Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
The MTT mission consists of going out to remote locations in Liberia to teach future Ebola treatment center health care workers on how to properly conduct all phases of running an ETU, said Capt. Alex Ailer, a nurse with the 86th Combat Support Hospital, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The health care workers are first screened by Liberia’s Ministry of Health to make sure they are credentialed in the specific area of expertise. Next, they are hired by a local nongovernmental organization.
Once the hiring process is done, the health care workers are able to start working in an ETU. The curriculum for the training is governed by the World Health Organization, said Ailer.
At the start of the week, the MTT begins the training by setting up a simulated ETU. After the simulated ETU is set up, the MTT goes through a series of training ranging from classroom work to actual hands-on training.
“We’re here to train the Liberians and NGO’s on how to protect themselves in an ETU and how to treat patient with Ebola” said Ailer, a native of Mansfield, Ohio.
The training is broken down into two phases. Phase one consists of training police officers and logisticians who facilitate the management of the ETU but won’t be inside of the ETU.
Phase two consists of learning how to properly wear personal protective equipment and manage care of patients.
Once the locals are trained and certified, they can begin working at one of the many ETU’s that have been established throughout Liberia.
The training that the MTT provides has had a positive effect on the Liberians.
“I enjoyed training with the MTT because it taught us how to take care of our patients and help them transition back into their communities,” said Natherline Kassy, a Liberian nurse who works at the ETU in Monrovia.
Liberia has been hit the hardest of the West African countries battling Ebola outbreaks, with more than 2,800 people killed this year. But the number of new cases has dropped precipitously in Liberia, after months of public awareness campaigns emphasizing the need to isolate the sick and get tested as soon as symptoms emerge, according to the World Health Organization’s website.
“We’re giving the Liberians knowledge on Ebola and that part is rewarding,” said Senior Airman Joshua Douglass, a medical technician from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, attached to the MTT. “We want to give them all the tools they need to teach their families how to be safe and how not to catch Ebola nor spread it.