Handelsblatt auf Englisch Deadly Viruses and Saving Lives

Ella Watson-Stryker, a public health specialist for medical charity MSF, talks about hearing your colleagues have been killed, and how national borders are useless in the face of global epidemics.
  • Meera Selva and Tal Rimon

It takes a certain kind of person to go willingly into the most dangerous places on earth and risk being bombed, attacked or infected with a killer virus. But the staff of Medicins Sans Frontiers, one of the most respected medical charities in the world, do just that.

The charity hit the headlines recently when one of its hospitals, in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed, by U.S. airstrikes. 22 people were killed in an hour long attack on the evening of 3 October: 12 MSF staff and 10 patients, including three children. The United States military knew where the hospital was located: the charity had given its GPS coordinates to both the U.S. and Afghanistan military. The U.S. government has said the bombing was a mistake, but MSF has called for an independent investigation into the matter.

Ella Watson-Stryker, 35, is an MSF health promoter who won the Time Person of the Year award in 2014 for working with Ebola patients in West Africa, at the height of an epidemic that has killed 11,000 people.

Ms. Watson-Stryker came to the World Health Summit in Berlin in October 2015 to talk about public health and global epidemics. She spoke to Handelsblatt Global Edition about the emotional costs of working for an organization like MSF, and why outbreaks of deadly viruses like Ebola affect us all.

To see more stories in English, click here to go to Handelsblatt Global Edition.

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