Psychosocial Coordinator, Ebola Response
BORN AND RAISED: Kono and Makeni, Sierra Leone
HOME: Olney, Maryland, USA
Idris was 11 when Sierra Leone’s civil war began and for the next decade, his family was on the move to escape violence, eventually fleeing on foot to Guinea for safety. Idris managed to continue his studies throughout the conflict, and once it was over, traveled to the UK to study accounting.
“I soon realized that I was not meant to be an accountant,” says Idris.
He joined the British Military and it was during a tour with the United Kingdom Medical Group in Iraq in 2007 that his interest in medical work grew—specifically the psychological impact of war on civilians and combatants.
When he returned to the UK, he enrolled in a mental health nursing program, while working in a psychiatric ward of a city hospital, and later earned a Masters in War and Psychiatry.
In May of 2014, Idris traveled to Sierra Leone to run in an annual marathon to raise money for a local charity. While there, the first cases of Ebola were being reported in the country.
“I felt compelled to stay and help,” says Idris. “As mental health practitioner, I knew there would be critical needs to help people deal with the trauma, fear, pain, isolation and stigma associated with Ebola. I was also concerned about people still navigating through post-war trauma becoming re-traumatized by this health crisis.”
Idris joined International Medical Corps as a psychosocial coordinator. He recruits, trains and supervises local counselors helping patients, their families, survivors and impacted communities.