Global Health Chronicles

Alex Gasasira

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Hello, this is Sam Robson of CDC Museum, here today talking with Dr. Alex Gasasira, WHO representative to Liberia.

Keywords: WHO; WHO representative (WR)

Subjects: Uganda; World Health Organization

00:02:04 - Early life and education through medical school

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Partial Transcript: Thank you. I’m going to rewind drastically for a second—can I ask when and where you were born?

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; careers; history; parents; science

Subjects: AIDS (Disease)--Africa; Uganda

00:07:06 - Public health work following medical school

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Partial Transcript: What did you do after medical school?

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; WHO; polio eradication; surveillance

Subjects: AIDS (Disease)--Africa; Great Britain; Liberia; Nigeria; World Health Organization; Zimbabwe; poliomyelitis

00:10:17 - Going to Liberia as the WHO Ebola technical coordinator/Early discussions on cremation

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Partial Transcript: After that, I went to the regional office in Brazzaville, our WHO Regional Office, as the polio coordinator for the WHO Africa Region

Keywords: AFRO; burial; cremation; cultures; dead body management; discussions; funerals; meetings; organization; rites

Subjects: Ebola virus disease; Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen, 1938-; World Health Organization. Regional Office for Afric

00:16:57 - Planning a national Ebola response strategy/The issue of isolation and home care

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Partial Transcript: So you go to this meeting that was about cremation—what else are you working on at this time?

Keywords: CDC; Ebola treatment units (ETUs); MSF; Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW); WHO; beds; community transmission; holding centers; home care; home protection kits; isolation facilities

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Medecins sans frontieres (Association); Monrovia (Liberia); United States. Agency for International Development. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance; World Health Organization

00:22:39 - Coordinating among response partners

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Partial Transcript: One thing I really, I got to know and admire so many dedicated professional people because privately they would say okay, we believe in the ETU and these are the principles, but we understand what you are trying to do, and let us sit down and think.

Keywords: G. Volesky; MSF; Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW); T. Nyenswah; colleagues; communication; coordination; incident management systems (IMSs); international response; meetings; militaries; partners; staff rotation; teamwork

Subjects: Medecins sans frontieres (Association); United States. Army

00:29:57 - The Liberian response leadership/The question of forced quarantine

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Partial Transcript: I’m wondering if you could take a minute and just describe Honorable Tolbert Nyenswah a bit. How he is as a person.

Keywords: S. Kamara; T. Nyenswah; West Point; communication; community trust; decision making; escape; incident management systems (IMSs); leadership; quarantine; violence

Subjects: Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen, 1938-

00:34:31 - Putting Liberian communities at the center of the Ebola response

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Partial Transcript: We should do our part in helping, and this eventually happened, the community should be part of the response, they should be at the heart of the response.

Keywords: T. Nyenswah; communication; community trust; cremation; dead body management

Subjects: Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen, 1938-

00:39:09 - Defining the roles of WHO and partner agencies

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Partial Transcript: When I think about the roles of different organizations that they came in with, CDC kind of says they were technical advisors in these countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Keywords: Ebola treatment units (ETUs); WHO; case management; communication; coordination; data management; funding; health infrastructure; infection prevention and control (IPC); long-term; sample collection; specimen transport; strategic planning; surveillance; teamwork; trainings

Subjects: World Bank; World Health Organization

00:47:38 - Standout individuals

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Partial Transcript: I appreciate hearing about how well coordinated things were, it’s inspiring that in the midst of such a stressful, intense situation, that people would come together like that.

Keywords: A. Christie; B. Dahn; CDC; D. Williams; F. Mahoney; K. De Cock; M. Fallah; Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW); St. Paul Bridge cluster; T. Frieden; T. Nagbe; VIPs; colleagues; food; poverty; quarantine; supplies; teamwork

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.); Frieden, Tom

00:55:54 - Turning the tide in the Ebola epidemic/Communicating with Ebola responders in other countries

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Partial Transcript: Can you just describe when you saw the tide kind of turn in Liberia, and what that felt like?

Keywords: C. Ihekweazu; WHO; chains of transmission; contact tracing; infection prevention and control (IPC); ring IPC; strategies; trainings

Subjects: World Health Organization

01:01:42 - Work since the Ebola epidemic/Building a resilient health system

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Partial Transcript: Can you just describe when you saw the tide kind of turn in Liberia, and what that felt like?

Keywords: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW); WHO; emergency preparedness; health infrastructure; healthcare worker education; trainings

Subjects: World Health Organization