A COUPLE providing vital care to women in Sierra Leone have returned home following the outbreak of deadly Ebola.
Paul Robinson and his wife Andrea are now living in a motorhome in a Linton-on-Ouse field as they come to terms with losing friends and being thousands of miles away from the people that need help.
The pair moved to Africa in 2013 to take up positions at the West Africa Fistula Foundation, an American programme which repairs tissue damage in fistulas - internal tears caused by obstructed labour - in new mothers.
Paul, 56, is an engineer by trade, and was tasked with running the project’s operations on the ground.
Shortly after arriving back in the UK on August 6, he put himself into quarantine inside his motorhome for 21 days to make sure he had not contracted any symptoms of the virus, which has so far infected around 2,615 people, and sadly killing half of those.
He said: “I really didn’t want to come back, but the American programme I worked for suspended it until January.
“I feel guilty about coming home, but I was given no option.
“I know a few people that have died from this. The guy who worked in the next office to me died from it, and the brother of the man who looked after his house died too.”
Mrs Robinson, 57, was a nurse in Wakefield then worked for the North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust before retiring, and making the move with her husband.
The programme to help mothers was established by Texan obstetrician Darius Maggi.
Dr Maggi has repaired 1,000 fistulas, helping women move on with their lives by removing the threat of lifelong incontinence - a common problem if damage is not treated. The programme is not expected to resume until early 2015, leaving the couple in limbo, but eager to return to the country.
Mr Robinson added: “I’m going fishing for the day, but for the rest of the time I will take it as it comes.
“I’ve got to go to Texas to discuss the way forward, and will go there in the next couple of weeks.”
- This is the largest ever outbreak of Ebola and has infected around 2,615 people.
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage.
- The virus spreads through direct with infected bodily fluids. There is no cure.
- All schools in Nigeria have been ordered to remain shut until October 13.