Helping with Ebola crisis

Some days, Kendell Kauffeldt admits, he’d wake up with a sore throat and wonder.

Salmon Arm’s Kendell Kauffeldt (MP Colin Mayes’ son-in-law) is the country director for Liberia

Salmon Arm’s Kendell Kauffeldt (MP Colin Mayes’ son-in-law) is the country director for Liberia

Some days, Kendell Kauffeldt admits, he’d wake up with a sore throat and wonder.

Wonder if he had the Ebola virus that, in 2014, was sweeping through the West African country of Liberia, where Kauffeldt has been based as country director for the Calgary-based Samaritan’s Purse organization since 2004.

Part of his mandate includes being the Ebola response manager. He and his staff, which includes 400 nationals and 20 ex-pats, were having their temperatures taken four times a day during the outbreak.

“The longest 30 seconds of the day is waiting for that thermometer to beep so you can look at the results,” said Kauffeldt, 44, who was in Vernon, Kelowna and Kamloops presenting to government officials on the Ebola outbreak.

“At the end of the day, you have an upset stomach and you wonder, ‘is this Ebola?’ You’re constantly going through that. The situation was overwhelming because of the whole stress and fear.”

Ebola’s symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by bleeding, organ failure and death.

“Because the symptoms are so common, you wake up in the morning, take your temperature and actually write it on a piece of paper, staple it to your shirt so we know you’re healthy and we can work with you,” said Kauffeldt, who arrived in Liberia in 2005 with Samaritan’s Purse to help the country respond to the end of its civil crisis.

He is joined in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, by his wife, Beverly, daughter of Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes, and their two sons. Neither Kauffeldt, his wife, family or any of his staff have contracted the deadly virus. As of late January, nearly 21,700 cases of Ebola had been recorded, killing almost 8,700 people.

When Ebola hit the country in March 2014, Samaritan’s Purse and Doctors Without Borders were the only organizations responding, and both began a massive awareness campaign teaching Liberians how to protect themselves. As the outbreak escalated, Samaritan’s Purse began to clinically respond which involved the running and management of Ebola treatment units.

“My staff were putting on hazmat suits,” said Kauffeldt. “We were involved in the front end. At that point of the outbreak, Doctors Without Borders were overwhelmed and could not respond. As an organization, we were the lead in responding to Ebola. We saw everything at that point.

“The situation became overwhelming. The number of cases outgrew the strategy and response by the government and UN agencies.”

Because Samaritan’s Purse had been in Liberia for nearly 10 years, Kauffeldt said it has been able to establish good relationships with the country’s government which allowed it the credibility to respond to the outbreak.

“The outbreak is now a global event and Canada is not immune to potential threats in the future,” said Kauffeldt which is one of the reasons he’s speaking to government about his experiences.

Kauffeldt and his family plan to return to Liberia later this month.

 

Just Posted

Rachel Spanier opened her new business, Rikki Lou Who’s Gift Emporium at the corner of Alexander Street and Lakeshore Drive on May 11. Space at the rear of the store is dedicated to her other business, Head Gamez Hair & Company. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Lookie-loos welcome at new downtown Salmon Arm business

Rachel Spanier combines gift emporium and Head Gamez salon at one location

A thief or thieves broke into a kitchen at the grandstands at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds recently, destroying a door apparently with the intention of stealing copper. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Man found sleeping amidst damage on Salmon Arm fairgrounds

Agricultural association dismayed by vandalism, thefts in kitchen, dance studio

Quinn, left, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer are going through UBCO’s nursing program together after Quinn encouraged his brother to go back to school. (UBC Okanagan/Contributed)
UBC Okanagan student transitions from professional hockey to nursing

Adrian Van de Mosselaer credits his younger brother for the push to get him back to learning

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Letter writer concerned there was a lack of notice by School District 83 regarding the May 12 board meeting on the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. Discussion at the meeting is expected to focus on Salmon Arm schools, including the J.L. Jackson campus. (Google maps image)
Letter: Public provided little notice on Salmon Arm school facilities meeting

Writer questions what constitutes proper communication

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

(Glenmore Neighbours/Facebook)
VIDEO: Parade of ducklings stalls Glenmore traffic

Duck and ducklings trek across Glenmore, guided to pond by residents

Vernon’s Tanya Wick, human resources VP at Tolko Industries Ltd., has been named the 2021 HR Professional of the Year by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon. (CPHR BC & Yukon photo)
Okanagan resident gets top provincial award for HR excellence

Tolko’s Tanya Wick has earned the title of 2021 HR Professional of the Year

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Most Read