Why a healthy Kent Brantly and his family are returning to serve in Africa

Story from the Abilene Reporter-News

LORETTA FULTON | SPECIAL TO THE REPORTER-NEWS |  (Excerpt shared with permission)

In December 2014, Kent Brantly’s piercing eyes stared straight ahead from the cover of Time magazine as the face of “The Ebola Fighters,” the magazine’s collective honorees as Person of the Year. On July 26 that year, Brantly, a physician who was serving with Samaritan’s Purse at a hospital in Liberia, was diagnosed with the disease. He was evacuated on the night of Aug. 1, arriving the next day at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, in the midst of a battle for his life.

Five years later, he is healthy and announced his return to Africa with his wife, Amber, and their two children, now ages 10 and 8. Only this time, he will be serving with Christian Health Service Corps at a hospital in Zambia.

Both the Brantlys are graduates of Abilene Christian University and Amber’s parents live in Abilene. Once Brantly, 38, made a full recovery, the family settled in Fort Worth where he practiced medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital. By the end of 2017, the Brantlys began thinking about returning to Africa. An opportunity arose in August 2018 and the past year has been spent preparing to return, including visiting family and friends and raising funds.

The family has been in a holding pattern, awaiting approval from various Zambian agencies before they can return. They have been looking at a mid-October to late November time frame.

“We’re eager for the paperwork to clear,” Brantly said last moth, “so we can make the move.”

Focus where it belongs

The Brantlys long ago got enough of being in the spotlight.

Today, Brantly wants that spotlight to shine on the Democratic Republic of the Congo where an outbreak of Ebola was declared Aug. 1, 2018. The World Health Organization reported that by Aug. 27, there had been 2,997 cases of Ebola reported in the DRC, resulting in 1,998 deaths. It is the second largest outbreak in history, Brantly noted.

Brantly is no longer concerned for his own life, but the lives of thousands of others. He is discouraged by the lack of coverage by the American media of the situation in the DRC. His story has been told repeatedly, but his is only one story.

“That story is being repeated 3,000 times in the DRC,” he said.

Before becoming a doctor, Brantly, the product of a Christian upbringing in Indiana, earned a degree in Bible from ACU. That grounding shows in conversations about why he and his wife, a nurse, are determined to help people so far away. Brantly has a map on his phone that shows the physician/patient ratio in various parts of the world.

“North America is swollen like a big balloon,” he points out, as is Europe.

But that image shrinks noticeably in the African map. The need for access to medical care in sub-Saharan Africa is critical and Brantly knows the has the skill set to help.

Read more of this article and interview with Dr. Kent Brantly Here: https://amp.reporternews.com/amp/3948124002?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR2q-JqIYg2UA-Q7KephvzrQUwcLi1Xok1NJvmYWWyPpYokBc0azckUyqyA

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Organizations related to this story: Christian Health Service Corps


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