September 22nd, 2014 Posted in ebola, Sierra Leone | No Comments »
Oxfam’s donation of water tanks to the proposed Lakka Ebola Centre
Since the Ebola outbreak in my country, Sierra Leone, in early May, I have seen and heard it all. I have learnt a lot about personal hygiene and social interaction. I have seen sick family members abandoned by their loved ones. I have seen health workers die. I have seen homes quarantined and cut off from the public. I have seen public centers and entertainment places close down. I have seen nurses strike for better conditions of service. I have seen people buried in body bags and their families unable to partake in the burial rites because of the highly contagious nature of Ebola. I have seen burial teams attacked by community people who, mostly for lack of awareness and the lack of opportunity to accord their last respects to their dead kin, vented their anger on the burial teams.
I have seen market women increase the prices of basic food stuffs as supplies become more and more difficult to access because of increase in prices of commodities as most of them come from Guinea. I have seen the lovely beach in Freetown deserted by many. I have seen chlorine being widely used by many for the right and wrong reasons. I have seen diplomacy at work in fighting the Ebola. I have seen both the positive and negative media reports on the Ebola in my country. I have seen the culture of helping the sick in Sierra Leone die because of fear. Fear of contracting Ebola. I have seen people bath with water and salt in honest, sincere belief that it will protect them from the deadly virus. I have visited the Ebola isolation centers under construction. I have seen other colleagues fly out of the country, again in fear, as their families out there panic. I have seen ambulances carrying corpses daily. Yes, I have seen it all. And after all what I have seen, read and heard, the more I know about the disease, the more I become afraid.