Health minister says Quebec doctor who oversaw Ebola outbreak will be called quickly to contribute
MONTREAL -- Quebec's Health Minister Danielle McCann tweeted Friday evening that the Quebec physician who worked oversaw efforts to battle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa would be called quickly to help combat the COVID-19 empidemic after initially being barred from assisting.
Joanne Lui, who once appeared on the Time Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world, said she was told she would not be able to help in the province's long-term care facilities.
Liu, a former president of Medecins Sans Frontieres who oversaw the organization's efforts to battle an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, told TVA that she had been refused when she volunteered to help.
“I was told I didn't have the experience to respond to epidemics in an environment like Quebec,” she said to host Paul Larocque.
Health Minister Danielle McCann quickly stepped in, saying on Twitter that Liu's help would be welcome.
“Thank you to Dr. Liu and Paul Larocque for bringing this to my attention,” she tweeted. “We need everyone's contributions to take care of seniors in CHSLDs. My office will ensure Dr. Liu is called quickly to contribute to this collective effort.”
Liu said she was looking forward to the opportunity to help.
Liu, 54, began working for Medecins Sans Frontieres in 1996 and participated in 20 missions in Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East. During her mandate as president, the organization operated in several dozen countries, including African nations during the 2014 Ebola crisis.
When she appeared in the Time list, United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden praised her in his article.
"In extremely difficult circumstances, Joanne Liu remained focused while being flexible," he wrote. "More importantly, she worked tirelessly to prepare the world to better respond to crises."