UC prof went home to West Africa to treat Ebola

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 18:19:47-05

CINCINNATI -- Cheedy Jaja said he doesn't consider himself a hero.

The University of Cincinnati nursing professor faced almost certain infection -- possibly death -- when he returned to his birth country, Sierra Leone, on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak.

"My country needed me," he said.

At the time, ten doctors died while treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Jaja said. Another 300 nurses also died.

Regardless of the risks, Jaja spent six weeks in Sierra Leone working to treat Ebola patients.

"It was difficult being around people who have no hope at all," Jaja said in an article for UC Magazine. "You could actually tell a patient who was going to die; they have a blank stare on their face. There was so much death and dying. It took all of us by surprise."

During Jaja's time in Sierra Leone, he and his team went from treating 40-60 new cases of Ebola every day to zero cases.

Now, Jaja wants to help the thousands of orphans left in the wake of the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

"All I want to do now is just tough people and make a difference in their lives," he said.

Watch the video above for more on Jaja's story.