For Health Workers on Ebola’s Front Lines, Stress Management is Crucial

Since March 23, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has tracked the spread of the Ebola virus through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.The United Nations has spent countless hours developing and disseminating information on the risks of transmitting the disease, reassuring the public on how to protect themselves, and publishing a bevy of technical information for health workers.Publishers such as Elsevier have enabled free access to Ebola-related research to help health workers and researchers control the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has disseminated information on how health workers can keep themselves safe while caring for Ebola victims.What no one is talking about, though, is how to help health workers deal with the stress of an Ebola outbreak, especially in areas that suffer from health worker shortages.A 2006 study found that health workers under stress are more likely to make mistakes. In an interview last week with the BBC, Dr. Gabriel Fitzpatrick of Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone, spoke about the pressure health workers face on the front lines of Ebola.“Many of the inpatients are former health care staff themselves,” he said.

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For Health Workers on Ebola’s Front Lines, Stress Management is Crucial