Ebola is such a contagious and deadly disease. This is the worst outbreak ever, both in terms of numbers affected and geographic region. It is the first time Ebola has appeared in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, so there's a lot of misunderstanding, which breeds fear, and it's that fear that presents the biggest challenge.
Despite the work of both government and Médecins Sans Frontières, there is still an atmosphere of anxiety surrounding the crisis. Lahai says that patients admitted to the hospital for other conditions have been escaping because they are afraid and don't feel protected: every day someone dies from Ebola and they think that they are at risk of dying if they continue to stay at the hospital.
I cannot imagine being in labour and forced to trek miles and miles in the hope to deliver in safe conditions. One woman I met Kula, delivered her baby on the side of the road in the dark with the threat of snakes and other dangerous animals to contend with. She had walked miles from her village to the one where we met to hire a canoe. She didn't make it as far as the village before she gave birth and her baby only made it as far as the water's edge when it passed away as she waited for two hours for a canoe to take her and her newborn baby to the clinic. Kula's story shocked Kate and I to the core. We were overwhelmed with grief for her.
This human cost should not be forgotten. Rather it should be central to any anti-poaching policy. If we do not change the conversation, this evil trade will only continue unabated. With any luck, an acknowledgement of the economic and security implications of this poaching crisis may help formulate a more nuanced response that will save Africa's great wildlife before it is too late.
Sierra Leone should be one of the most prosperous countries in West Africa, with its diamonds, iron ore and bauxite reserves. Yet, the vast majority of its people live in grinding poverty, and the country has the fourth highest maternal mortality rate in the world. On health, though, it is making progress.
Recent conflicts have meant that children of war are quite rightly at the forefront of everyone's minds, and I want to tell you how we can help them. I recently saw with my own eyes just how devastating the long-term effects of war are on generations of children when I travelled with ActionAid to Sierra Leone.
It is imperative that post-Millennium Development Goals, currently being negotiated, do not overlook the plight of the disabled people and children. It is time for concrete action to ensure that particularly children with disabilities have access to education, protection from violence and abuse; and opportunity to have their voices heard. This is not just a development agenda it is also a human rights issue.
Sitting on the rooftop of Gladys's juice bar in Freetown, I was having an informal chat with some of the women my foundation supports. This wasn't my first trip to Sierra Leone. I was there for International Women's Day in March and had spoken then to some of the women. But this time I got to have a long, in depth conversation with them about the difficulties they have faced as women entrepreneurs and what benefits they get from participating in the country's first network for women entrepreneurs, which is what the Foundation has helped to set up here.
Many in the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces found his level of ambition to be intimidating. For others, his leadership style was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale department. Nevertheless it was this ambition, and his leadership abilities, that brought him to the very top of his profession.
As the plane touched down in Freetown, my thoughts turned to my baby son, at home. I'd come to a country where one in five children dies before the age of five. I'd read that fact over and over again and - as I stepped onto the dusty tarmac in Sierra Leone - a mixture of guilt and relief mingled inside, knowing my own flesh and blood was healthy and safe.