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Dr. Melvin Korkor

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services

Personal Details / Academic Background

Dr. Melvin Korkor was born in 1972 in Foyah Teingia, Lofa County, Liberia. He is married with three children. Korkor is a senior physician and a lecturer at the College of Health Sciences, Nurses and Physician Assistants in Liberia. He obtained his Bsc in 2002 and a Master of Public Health from Cuttington University in Suacoco, Liberia in 2006. Thereafter, he got a government scholarship to support  further studies in the medical school at the Jilin University  in Changchun, China in 2011. After finishing his studies he returned to Liberia and accepted the position of consultant physician at Phebe Hospital in rural Liberia; a large referral facility specializing in emergency obstetrical care.

Dr. Korkor’s Ordeal

On June 30th, the first Ebola victim arrived at his hospital in Bong County; at that stage it was believed that the outbreak in Liberia was limited to Lofa County. But the patient died following two days of hospitalization, setting  off a cascade of events that resulted in the deaths of nine health care workers: five nurses, one physician’s assistant, one laboratory technician, and two ambulance drivers. Dr.Korkor was the only survivor.

Unprotected, Dr. Korkor treated one of the affected nurses, who was suffering severe fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Three days later, Korkor started suffering a fever, nausea, and vomiting. With the deterioration of his condition he isolated himself and had a blood sample tested. The result was positive for Ebola.

He was transferred to the Ebola treatment Unit (ETU) in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The conditions in the ETU were quite bad. While being severely ill, he persisted on taking oral rehydration salts until he recovered from the infection. He attributes his recovery to his knowledge as a medical doctor and the support of his family and Phebe hospital.

Dr. Korkor experienced a massive degree of stigma after his recovery but he showed outstanding courage during and after his infection. Dr. Melvin Korkor has been selected to receive The Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services in recognition for his great effort to save his patients regardless of potentially fatal dangers.