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Boston Nurse Heads To West Africa To Fight Ebola

BOSTON (CBS) -- John Welch, 33, walks with determination. This weekend he travels to Liberia where he will spend one month treating Ebola patients.

"I think it would be naive of me to say I am prepared me for anything," Welch said.

Welch took a leave from his job at Children's Hospital to work with the non-profit, Partners in Health. The organization focuses on taking care of the health needs of vulnerable populations.

Welch has served in Haiti, but the needs of this trip are specific. He spent several days with the CDC in Alabama where a mock Ebola treatment unit, like the ones in Africa, was set-up. They were trained on how to protect themselves while providing treatment.

"For me the feeling now is to stop talking about Ebola and go and start learning how to this in a very practical way," Welch said.

He said his experiences and training have adequately prepared him for what he faces."

"I have to have a little bit of concern for what we're doing, but that concern drives awareness and drives mindfulness," Welch said.

Patients out-number medical workers in Ebola affected countries. Welch expects to take what he learns in the field and train doctors and nurses to fight the outbreak.

Before he left, he had to educate his family and friends on his decision and the virus.

"They appreciate what I'm doing. I think they're appropriately concerned," Welch said. "One of the things you have to ask yourself is if not me who."

Welch represents Partners in Health first long-term leadership role in dealing with the outbreak. Once he returns to the U.S., he will travel between the U.S. and West Africa to train other aid workers and set-up Ebola treatment units.


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