UT Health scientist stranded in Africa, needed back home in COVID-19 fight


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – We’ve shared with you many stories of Americans stranded in other countries due to flight restrictions. One East Texan is in a similar situation.

He works for UT Health as a medical lab scientist. But right now,  he’s stuck in Africa after a trip to visit family.

“Originally I’m from Gambia, from West Africa,” Ousman Njie, UT Health scientist, said.

Ousman Njie has been in the US for more than 10 years. He went to school here and decided to stay after graduation.

“Eventually I got a job, had a family, so I call it my home now,” Njie said.

Now he wants to come back home and has a big purpose currently put on hold.

“We are the ones who actually run the tests for COVID-19 in the lab,” Njie explained. “All kinds of testing, all bodily fluid testing, my team oversees. Especially in a time like this, I need to be there with them helping.” 

His coworkers want him back too.

“You know they feel bad for me, knowing that I want to be there to help them out.”

He also wants to be back here for two other important people.

“My family is back in the states there back in Tyler, my wife and my son.”

Currently in Gambia, visiting other family, Njie never thought it would come to this. Now he is having to make calls to government officials and the US Embassy.

“They have a few Americans here who also need help going back, but they also say we need to prepare to be here for an extended period of time so it’s kind of scary you know,” Njie said.

Home and family bring the most comfort during trying times. But for Njie, comfort sits 5,000 thousand miles away until he finds a way back.

We will be contacting our local lawmakers regarding his situation in an effort to help bring him home. We’ll keep you updated on his journey back.

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