On Friday, November 5, 2021, a fuel tanker exploded after it collided with a truck on the east end of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city. A week later, the death toll was still climbing, from an initial 98 to 144. Without a burn unit, and with limited antibiotics and pain medicine, patients faced a grim chance of survival, and a long road to recovery even if they are able to make it through the first few weeks. In the days after the accident, I met with patients and their families as they navigated Sierra Leone’s precarious health system, and learned about how the economic impact of the blast will likely impact extended families across Sierra Leone.
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