Ebola Survivor Rick Sacra Answers Why He's Returning to Liberia
Rick Sacra, the third American missionary to have contracted Ebola, has announced that he will be returning to Liberia later this week.
Sacra, 52, will return to West Africa where the heart of the worst Ebola outbreak in history is taking place to treat patients at ELWA Hospital. Since 1995, Sacra has served as an SIM missionary at the hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.
The family doctor from Massachusetts contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia in September last year but was discharged from Nebraska Medical Center Ebola-free on Sept. 26. Sacra has since stated that he is “95 percent” better.
“Ever since I turned the corner in Nebraska and started improving, I’ve been telling people my goal was to be back in Liberia once I was healthy,” Sacra wrote in Time last month. “And now I have medical clearance to go. But as to the question ‘Why?’ I suppose there are several facets to that – personal ones, and also ‘big picture answers.’”
In his article, Sacra went on to state his relationship with God, as well as Liberia, as one of the primary reasons for his return.
He noted his commitment to serving through his work at ELWA Hospital and other ministries and pursuing a vision for training doctors for the future of health care in Liberia through a Family Medicine Residency Program.
At a news conference at the University of Massachusetts Medical School this morning, Sacra told reporters that he was “less nervous about this trip” since he knew what to expect.
“The thing I was afraid of last time, I’ve had it, and I’m through it. Thank God,” Sacra said.
According to medical professionals, Sacra is immune to Ebola after having contracted it and overcoming the disease.
“When Jesus was on this earth, he traveled around to visit people who were lost, forgotten and suffering,” Sacra said at the conference. “He made it his business to accept them, love them and heal them, and he asked us to do the same. That’s very personal and very real for me.”
“Many lessons have been learned from fighting the Ebola epidemic: public health structures have been improved, drugs are being tested, vaccines are in active trials,” Sacra wrote in Time. “But in order to eliminate the threat of Ebola for all of us, we must continue this effort until it has been eradicated where it sprang up.”
Sacra is slated to return to the U.S. in one month.