Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone's Augustine Baker dies

image captionAugustine Baker's role in tackling the Ebola virus has been widely admired

A Sierra Leonean who worked with children orphaned by Ebola has died of the disease himself.

Augustine Baker had been admitted to an Ebola treatment centre after becoming ill last week.

He had worked for an orphanage run by a UK charity on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

Thirty-three children and seven staff at the St George Foundation orphanage have been in quarantine since Mr Baker was diagnosed with the deadly virus.

Ebola has killed more than 9,500 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

media captionChildren orphaned by Ebola are being shunned by their communities who fear they may bring the disease back with them, as Tulip Muzumdar reports

But in recent weeks, the crisis has eased and the governments of the three countries have pledged to achieve zero Ebola infections within the next two months.

Umaru Fofana, BBC Africa, Freetown

Augustine Baker was an unsung hero.

At the height of the Ebola crisis he would go into high-risk communities to help children who had been orphaned by the disease.

With his backpack on and his notebook and pen handy, Mr Baker would collect data and go and find the children to take them to the orphanage.

His colleagues, who are locked in quarantine at the orphanage, were grieving as news of his death broke.

Jestina Conteh was sobbing as she spoke to me on the phone. He said Mr Baker was "a dedicated colleague who never said 'No' in search of Ebola orphans".

When Mr Baker was diagnosed with Ebola, orphanage co-founder Philip Dean said he had "worked tirelessly to help children orphaned by the disease".

"He knew that he was at risk but did the job because it needed to be done," Mr Dean added.

The orphanage was set up in 2004 and, until the Ebola outbreak, was mainly concerned with rescuing street children.

In the last year it has helped care for some 200 children orphaned by Ebola.

Ebola deaths

Figures up to 13 January 2016


Deaths - probable, confirmed and suspected

(Includes one in the US and six in Mali)

  • 4,809 Liberia

  • 3,955 Sierra Leone

  • 2,536 Guinea

  • 8 Nigeria


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