New Brunswick

Eilish Cleary returns to Africa to help fight Ebola outbreak

New Brunswick's chief medical health officer is heading back to West Africa to fight the spread of Ebola.

Chief medical officer of health takes on oversight of WHO surveillance program in Sierra Leone

N.B. Newsmaker Jan. 12: Eilish-Cleary

7 years ago
5:44
Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, reflects on the 10 weeks she spent fighting Ebola in West Africa. 5:44

New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health is heading back to West Africa to fight the spread of Ebola.

Dr. Eilish Cleary returned to New Brunswick just a few weeks ago after spending three months in Africa working on the outbreak.

She wasn't planning to return at this time, but after a conversation with an official from the World Health Organization recently she was appointed to a new role overseeing the Ebola surveillance program in Sierra Leone.

"Surveillance means basically collecting the information and using that information about the outbreak to direct the containment strategy," said Cleary.

"It is a very important role and I feel quite honoured to be asked to do it," she said.

"I also feel very privileged to be able to do it because I know that there are a number of my colleagues who would love to have been able to go, and for whatever reason haven't been in a position to actually go there to help."

Cleary said it is "a critical point" in the outbreak.

"We're starting to see a decline in the number of cases. It's a really important time to be very careful to insure it doesn't creep up again like it did last year, or become endemic in the population."

More than 8,400 people, overwhelmingly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, have been killed in the unprecedented Ebola epidemic.

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