Maurice Sapiro aka Maurice L. Sapiro (b. 1932, NJ, USA) - Moonglow, 2014 Paintings: Oil
As U.S. troops begin arriving in Liberia to help contain the regional spread of Ebola, a physician in the capital is grappling with the virus upfront.
Dr. Martha Zarway’s life turned upside down when one of her clinic staff members — a friend — died on Sept. 2 amid rumors that the cause of death was Ebola.
It was not so long ago that Zarway, 53, survived Liberia’s civil war, dodging bullets as rebel groups fought for control of Monrovia and other parts of the country. Just as Liberia was struggling back to its feet, the Ebola outbreak came and dealt the people there a body blow.
Health workers like Zarway, a private general practitioner who operates her own clinic, are bearing the brunt of the virus. So far, at least 85 health workers in Liberia have died of Ebola.
"The truth is, the entire thing is scary," she says. "But at the same time, I usually tell my staff, it’s scary — but think about a war, and all the soldiers run away. What will happen to the civilians?"
Pouncing on her military theme, I ask whether she feels like an army general who has to rally her foot soldiers.
"Like I say, it’s scary, it’s double scary," she says. "But you can’t run from the field. I mean, I can’t change my profession. I’m a doctor. I’m a doctor, so we can’t run away."
Photo: Liberian physician Martha Zarway continues work in a temporary clinic while her original facility is disinfected. (Tommy Trenchard for NPR)
This is my mama. My adorable, stylish, mama. My mama who has always fought for justice with compassion, and who taught me that it is sometimes better to let the other person “win,” even when you are in the right, as they may need it more. My mama who, when discouraged by her own experiences with ineffective multiple sclerosis treatment, declared that it was time for a change, and has become an internationally sought after patient advocate who has done more to move MS research forward than many of her own physicians. My mama who took her health into her own hands and reclaimed her body through nutrition, physical therapy, and art. My mama who, after a long and difficult road, finally felt like she was strong enough to go visit the bristlecone pines, which she did, walking 10,000ft above sea level, through a forest of the world’s oldest living organisms, my step-pop by her side, on the eve of her 60th birthday. My mama who told me not to worry because it just keeps getting better. My mama who doesn’t always say the right things at the right time, but is always there when she is needed, always. My mama who never ceases to inspire. 60 years my mama has blessed this pale blue dot with her effervescent presence. Here’s to 60 more mama, I love you!