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ARLINGTON -- Dr. Jennifer Gray with UTA's College of Nursing has seen first-hand the conditions many nurses face in developing countries; conditions she is working to change.

'In some of the rural hospitals - like the one that we go to in Uganda - they don't have mattress for the beds,' she said. 'So we're really talking about very limited resources.'

Dr. Gray, an associate dean in the College of Nursing returned one week ago from her eighth trip to Uganda. While abroad, she works with the country's Nurses and Midwives Union. During her most recent trip, the Ebola outbreak hit West Africa.

'The nurses in Uganda were aware that there was an outbreak. What I heard most was empathy, because they have been there,' Gray said. 'I met a nurse who lost a nursing student in an earlier Ebola epidemic.'

Patients in developing countries risk infection because many hospitals lack basic supplies. Gray said in worst-case scenarios, nurses will wash and reuse rubber gloves. Hydration becomes a challenge with a limited supply of saline solutions.

And with Ebola, basic care can make all the difference.

'The virus will run a course and be over if, in fact, they can provide that supportive care,' Gray said.

Despite protective measures, two Americans were still infected. Dr. Gray said she is hopefully they will survive, and is happy to see them on us soil.

'My thought was, 'It's about time that we got them here, where maybe we can learn something from it, so we may be able to improve this condition,'' she said.

Gray believes there is no public safety concern in bringing the infected Ebola patients to the United States. She feels the opportunity to study the disease, which has been for the most part ignored by researchers, could help some of the hardest-hit countries.

E-mail srobertson@wfaa.com

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