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CapaCare, which trains community health officers in Sierra Leone to do lifesaving surgeries, has lost a second student to the Ebola outbreak. Samuel Batty (left) died in early December from the virus. Photo: CapaCare.org

Ebola claims another Capacare student

The Ebola outbreak continues to claim lives in West Africa. Capacare.org, a programme that offers surgical training to community medical officers in Sierra Leone, has lost two of its students to the virus.

West Africa’s year-long Ebola outbreak has killed at least 9,365 people from among 23,218 cases recorded, mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization in its latest update from 18 February.

Among the hardest hit in the outbreak have been health care providers, and CapaCare, a medical training organization that is headed by NTNU PhD candidate and surgeon Håkon Angell Bolkan, has lost two of its trainees since the outbreak began. The organization teaches community health officers in Sierra Leone to perform lifesaving emergency surgeries, such as Caesarean sections. CapaCare now has 26 trainees.

CapaCare trainee Joseph Heindilo Ngegba died from Ebola in August and Samuel Batty died in early December. Batty had previously visited Scandinavia in August 2014 for additional training and told gemini.no at that time “Health care workers have to help in the fight. We have to be cautious not to contract the disease, but we are at war with this disease and we want to do our part..”

His mentors remember him as “an extraordinary good student. Talented, mature, and intelligent, the dream student for a teacher,” as Maria Milland wrote in a blog post about Batty. Milland is one of CapaCare’s trainers in Obstetrics and Gynecology  and a resident doctor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rigshospitalet, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark.