Sierra Leone (Lion Mountain) is a small country on the coast of West Africa. Founded by resettlement of liberated slaves in the 19th Century, Sierra Leone gained independence from Great Britain in 1961. During the 1990s, the country plunged into chaos as rebels waged a decade-long Civil War against the government. Rebel groups amputated hundreds if not thousands of civilians in order to spread terror and prevent government supporters from voting in election.
Just when Sierra Leone slowly emerged from the war, an unprecedented Ebola virus epidemic broke out in 2014, and Sierra Leone became the hardest-hit country. Hundreds of scientists as well as medical staff have been deployed to Sierra Leone in 2015.
Dr Choi was part of this concerted international effort to fight the recent Ebola epidemic and to prevent future outbreaks. This presentation retraces the last 6 months of the outbreak, and Dr Choi’s journey in helping the country’s amputees using 3D-printed prosthetic hands.
The lecture is open to all. Registration is required.
About the Speaker
Ed Choi, PhD
Laboratory Scientist, Public Health England;
Founder of e-NABLE Sierra Leone
Dr Choi was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK, where he graduated from the University of Oxford with a Biochemistry degree. In 2003, he received his PhD in HIV and Immunology at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Dr Choi then joined the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Prof Stanley Prusiner at UCSF to design a blood test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of the incurable “mad cow disease”. During the 2014-2015 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, he was deployed to Sierra Leone to diagnose Ebola virus at different Ebola Treatment Centres as a Public Health England Laboratory Scientist. After the Ebola outbreak, Dr Choi set up new diagnostic laboratories at two government hospitals to build local capacity. In the process, he learned of the plight of the hundreds of amputees wounded during the decade-long Sierra Leone Civil War. In 2015, Dr Choi founded the social enterprise “e-NABLE Sierra Leone” to make free 3D-printed hand and arm prosthetics for these amputees.