Korea’s medical workers sent to Ebola-hit Sierra Leone share storiesUpdated: 2015-05-18 03:15:32 KST
When President Park Geun-hye announced her decision to deploy Korean medical workers to Ebola-hit West Africa last October, the administration initially faced questions about their safety.
The three teams of a total of 24 medical workers were Korea’s first emergency personnel sent overseas in response to an outbreak, and their safe return has bolstered the administration’s confidence in the capabilities of Korea’s medical community.
In a meeting with the medical personnel at her office recently, President Park said she was impressed that so many of them had volunteered to be part of the team, despite the possibility of exposure to the deadly virus.
Dr. Choi Young-mi was at high risk of Ebola infection after one of her fingers came into contact with an infected needle.
“When the accident happened, instead of worrying about whether I would contract Ebola, I despaired at the thought of whether I’d be forced to leave Sierra Leone.”
The team faced other challenges, including scorching heat during the day and having to work in shifts through the night.
But they said that receiving a show of appreciation from the locals and feeling like they’d made a contribution to the health of humanity and world peace… made it all worthwhile.
“The locals gave us the thumbs up, saying, ‘Korea ‘ After hearing about the work we did, they said Koreans work really hard, and we became good friends.”
The presidential office says Seoul will use the experience to bolster Korea’s ability to counter an outbreak and seek more ways to play a role in providing international humanitarian aid in the future.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.