M Clement Hall


Angola has been devastated by a prolonged civil war. Its people suffer the usual medical problems of under-doctored impoverished Africa, and MSF has for many years had teams working in the country.

Marburg fever is similar to the better known Ebola fever. It results in extensive breakdown of body tissues, severe bleeding and death. There is no treatment. The medical aspects are related essentially to control of the infection, preventing spread of the disease and not improving the welfare of the patient -- not a comfortable concept for most nurses and physicians.

To this purpose, the caregivers are dressed in bizarre seeming costumes, quite terrifying to the unsophisticated patients and their relations, but caregivers who are not protectively dressed will die.

My experience with SARS in Toronto gave me some justification for assisting in this project, which was under the direction of WHO, and carried out by MSF in conjunction with the staff of the Ministry of Health of Angola.

Beautiful countryside -- loaded with landmines!



MSF nurses


less than ideal nursing costume -- but essential protection

although death was not inevitable, it was certainly the usual