The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sierra Leone loses fourth doctor to Ebola. WHO declined to fly her out of the country for treatment.

Liberian health care workers disenfect an Ebola burial team after collecting the body of an Ebola victim in Westpoint, Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 13, 2014. (EPA/AHMED JALLANZO)
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On Friday, Sierra Leone requested funds from the World Health Organization to evacuate a doctor stricken with Ebola to Germany for treatment, saying the country could not afford to lose another.

The WHO declined. “WHO is unable to organize evacuation of this doctor to [Germany] but is exploring all options on how to ensure best care,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

Late Saturday, that same physician, Olivet Buck died, the AP and Reuters confirmed. She is the fourth doctor from that country to die during the raging epidemic, and among an estimated 135 medical workers from West Africa to have contracted the disease and died.

Among the dead physicians is Sheik Umar Khan, considered the country’s foremost infectious disease expert. He died in July. 

Meanwhile, two Dutch doctors in Sierra Leone were flown home after coming in contact with the virus, the Amsterdam Herald reported. The government of the Netherlands sent a specially chartered jet for them. “Usually medical repatriation is a matter for the employer and insurer, but this case is so unusual that the government feels it has a part to play,” a government spokesman told the paper. 

The paper said the two doctors had been treating three patients in a clinic in Yale, Sierra Leone, who later died of Ebola. It reported that they did not wear protective clothing because at the time there were no signs the virus had spread to that clinic.

More than 300 health workers have reportedly been infected with the virus.

According to, so far only foreign health workers have been evacuated from Africa for treatment.

Buck was head of the Lumley Health Centre in a dense suburb west of Freetown, the capital. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, apparently contracting it as she treated an Ebola patient, Reuters reported. “I can confirm that doctor Olivet Buck died between last night and this morning,” Jarrah Kawusu-Konteh, of the State House communication unit, told Reuters.