Our story - Jacco Draaijer

Experiencing the fight against Ebola in an Amsterdam barrack

Jacco Draaijer, Raptim’s sales and account manager in the Netherlands, recently visited Doctors without Borders’ (MSF) Ebola Training Center, located in a barrack on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The visit made quite the impression on him, and gave him real insight into the daily practice of Doctors without Borders’ staff in the field.

The Doctors without Borders (MSF) Ebola training center mimics an African field hospital such as those in Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia – even without electricity or running water. So medical staff being dispatched can safely receive a two-day training – including doctors, logistics and maintenance staff. Lessons learned here prove to be vital in the precarious contexts in which Ebola is being battled. 

“If this would have been a real-life situation, I would have been quarantined in order to limit any risks.”

Jacco Draaijer, Raptim sales and account manager

Raptim’s Jacco Draaijer was given the opportunity to enter the simulated hospital environment after putting on the appropriate clothing. But getting dressed was easier said than done, as MSF follows strict protocols from start to finish. “Getting dressed took an enormous amount of time. Both before entering the danger zone, and after exiting it,” Jacco said.

Jacco was assigned the task of transporting a deceased patient to the mortuary, all the while keeping in mind that he shouldn't be exposed to the dangerous bacteria. "I can tell you this much: even in an Amsterdam barrack, with a temperature of a mere 15 degrees Celcius, I was sweating from the intense effort. I can hardly imagine the real deal, doing this work in 40-degree weather. The suit limits your every move, so it's important to think before acting, and to continuously stay focused on your goal."

"When I exited the hospital and was taking off my protective suit, I tore my glove on the zipper. I reported this immediately, so that I could be decontaminated with even more attention to detail than is usual," Jacco said. "If this would have been a real-life situation, I would have been quarantined in order to limit any risks. This would have meant that I would have had three fearful weeks filled with uncertainty ahead of me."

The experience made quite the impression on Jacco and has further increased his great respect for the work and perseverance of MSF staff members. Doctors without Borders is a long-time and much respected Raptim client. Over the years, we have become very connected to the organization and invested in their work.

“Gaining more knowledge of their actual practice in the field is a great way for us stay even more motivated to help them with their travel needs to the best of our abilities,” Jacco said.