Getting to Zero – A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline

In 2014, a 28-year old British doctor found himself co-running the Ebola isolation unit in Sierra Leone’s main hospital after the doctor in charge had been killed by the virus. Meanwhile, only a few miles down the road the Irish Ambassador and Head of Irish Aid worked relentlessly to rapidly scale up the international response.

Dr Oliver Johnson and Dr Sinead Walsh mark the release of their book, ‘Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline’ which exposes the often shocking shortcomings of the humanitarian response to the outbreak, both locally and internationally, and calls our attention to the immense courage of those who put their lives on the line every day to contain the disease.

Dr Johnson is a visiting lecturer in global health at King’s College London. He was based in Freetown from 2013 to 2015 working as the Director of the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership. He was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his leadership role in the British reponse to the Ebola outbreak. Oliver and his team supported the management of more than 578 confirmed cases of Ebola in Connaught Hospital, as well as the establishment of the Freetown Command Centre and Ebola isolation units at 6 government hospitals, which saw 2,571 suspected cases, of which 1,159 were positive.

Dr Sinead Walsh is the EU Ambassador to South Sudan. She has worked for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs since 2009. She was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2016/17. Prior to this she served as the Abmbassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone and Liberia and the Head of Irish Aid in the two countries, based in Freetown from 2011 to 2016.

“A frank, beautifully written, and essential guide to the lessons learned from the heart of the outbreak. Their first-hand experiences in battling this terrible disease will take your breath away.” Tulip Mazumdar, Global Health Correspondent for BBC News

A recording will be made available shortly after the event. Follow us on Twitter @georgeinstuk with #GeorgeSeminars to catch the release.