Former Winnipegger Dr. David Peters is home from the White House, where he was publicly praised by U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday for his Ebola-related work in Liberia.
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Peters returned from Liberia Oct. 20 to his home in Baltimore, MD, where he is the chair of the department of international health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“I’m asymptomatic and have no fever, as the health department likes to know,” he told CBC’s Weekend Morning Show host Terry MacLeod on Sunday.
Peters spent less than one week in Liberia, where he worked with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on two fronts.
“We’re helping with, basically the technical support and trying to get the strategic principles that they’ve learned in Congo, where they’ve already fought seven Ebola outbreaks, to bring that knowledge and people to West Africa,” he said.
Traditional, cultural practices that could spread Ebola still take place in West Africa, including one related to burial where families wash the body of a loved one. Peters, however, says fear of Ebola in affected regions of West Africa has turned to determination to combat the outbreak.
“In Liberia, particularly in Monrovia, the capital, they’ve really moved beyond that fear and panic that we were seeing earlier in the summer to much more attentive to actually getting the job done,” Peters said.
He was one of 11 health care professionals whose work was acknowledged by Obama on Oct. 30.
“He’s clearly, you know, engaged and sees the importance of this, you know, and that it is in America’s self-interest to try and address the epidemic as well as follow up with building health systems overseas,” Peters said of the president.
“I have to say, you know, it was nice to be lumped in with the other Americans, [but] I’m still a Canadian,” he said with a laugh.