Getting to Zero – A doctor and a diplomat on the Ebola frontline
In 2014, 28-year old British doctor Oliver Johnson found himself co-running the Ebola isolation unit in Sierra Leone’s main hospital after the doctor in charge had been killed by the virus. Completely overwhelmed and wrapped in stifling protective suits, he and his team took it in turns to provide care to patients while removing dead bodies from the ward. Only a few miles down the road, Sinead Walsh, the Irish Ambassador and Head of Irish Aid worked to rapidly scale up the international response. At a time when entire districts had been quarantined, she travelled around the country, and met with UN agencies, the President and senior ministers to be better placed in alerting the world to the catastrophe unfolding.
They will discuss their experiences captured in the book ‘Getting to Zero – A doctor and a diplomat on the Ebola frontline’, and expose the often shocking shortcomings of the humanitarian response to the outbreak, both locally and internationally, and call our attention to the immense courage of those who put their lives on the line every day to contain the disease.
Dr Sinead Walsh is the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2009. She was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2016/17. Prior to this, she served as the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016.
Dr Oliver Johnson is a visiting lecturer in global health at King’s College London. He was based in Freetown from 2013 to 2015 working as the Director of the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership. He was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his leadership role in the British response to the Ebola outbreak.
This event will be livestreamed/recorded (accessible to both internal and external audience).