U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power praised “brave and altruistic” health workers Thursday, and said anyone returning from an Ebola-affected country should follow "the strictest protocols."
In a speech in Brussels, the ambassador to the U.N. urged perspective about the risk of Ebola in the U.S. compared to the situation in West Africa. “The hospital where the American doctor infected with Ebola is being treated has 1,200 physicians on staff, more than 24 times the number of doctors in all of pre-Ebola Liberia.”
The figures “underscore why it is so important that the volunteer healthcare workers, brave and altruistic enough to serve in West Africa, be encouraged to go and be shown respect upon return,” she said.
Power was in the Belgian capital on her return from a trip to West Africa herself. In an interview with NBC News after her speech, she declined to say if she would quarantine herself on return to the U.S, but said, “I will observe whatever the protocols are but we conducted our trip in a manner that was very low-risk, so we will be vigilant when we get back.”
Asked if that included having her temperature taken twice a day, she said: “I think there's absolutely no reason not to follow the strictest protocols one’s self. But again there are very different categories of risk of people who come and work in these countries.”
Power's Brussels appearance came as Maine nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned from treating patients in West Africa, defied an order to stay at home by going out for a bike ride. “We cannot eradicate fear altogether but we can educate ourselves and our communities about when fears are legitimate or when they are unfounded or counterproductive,” Power said in her speech.
— Chris Jansing, Sarah Burke and Alastair Jamieson