'1,000th Ebola survivor' feted by Medecins sans Frontieres in west Africa

Liberian health workers are seen at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) Ebola treatment center in Monrovia on Oct 18, 2014. The medical charity said on Tuesday it had saved a 1000th patient from the deadly epidemic. -- PHOTO: A
Liberian health workers are seen at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) Ebola treatment center in Monrovia on Oct 18, 2014. The medical charity said on Tuesday it had saved a 1000th patient from the deadly epidemic. -- PHOTO: AFP

DAKAR (AFP) - Medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders), at the forefront of the fight against Ebola in west Africa, said Tuesday it had saved a 1000th patient from the deadly epidemic.

The survivor, Kollie James is an 18-year-old Liberian, said MSF.

"Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, MSF has admitted more than 4,500 patients to its care centres. Among these, more than 2,700 were confirmed as having Ebola," it said in a statement.

"Amidst all the loss and suffering, there are several stories of survival. Today, out of all the patients cared for in MSF's projects in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, we celebrate the 1,000th survivor," it said.

James's father Alexander, who worked as a health officer for MSF, said he had lost his wife, two daughters and a brother to the killer disease.

He said he was desperate when his son was admitted to an MSF centre.

"I was able to see Kollie in the care centre from across the fence, so I called out to him, 'Son, you're the only hope I got. You have to take courage. Any medicine they give to you, you have to take it'," Alexander James said.

"He told me, 'Papa, I understand. I will do it. Stop crying Papa, I will not die, I will survive Ebola. My sisters are gone, but I am going to survive and I will make you proud.'" James said he was deliriously happy when his son pulled through.

He however added: "Of course I am so happy to have Kollie still, but it's hard not to think of all those who are no longer with us."

The tropical disease, which is proving fatal in 70 percent of cases, has claimed more than 4,500 lives in West Africa, making it the largest Ebola epidemic in history.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hit hardest, accounting for the overwhelming majority of the 9,200 cases registered in seven countries, including the United States and Spain.