Combating Ebola by gaining trust

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Mosoka Fallah, MPH ’12, who grew up in Monrovia, Liberia, has returned to the capital city to help contain the spreading Ebola epidemic. An epidemiologist and immunologist, Fallah has been systematically leading teams of volunteers through the city’s slums to identify victims, remove bodies, and trace contacts of infected people. A New York Times profile published September 13, 2014 described Fallah’s crucial efforts to win over deeply distrustful residents in the fight against the virus.

“If people don’t trust you, they can hide a body, and you’ll never know,” Fallah told the Times. “And Ebola will keep spreading. They’ve got to trust you, but we don’t have the luxury of time.”

A political organizer in Monrovia’s West Point neighborhood, where residents and soldiers clashed this summer over a government quarantine, told the Times, “We can say openly: Had he not been here, things would have gotten far worse.”