Binta Bah, 35 and her daughter Doris Vandi, 4, survived Ebola. This is their story.
Komende Luyama is a community 20 kilometres outside of Kenema town in eastern Sierra Leone. Ebola arrived here at the end of September 2014 when the relative of a local family was brought to the community for treatment after beginning to suffer from stomach pains. It is thought that transmission to other community members occurred primarily when people came to visit her while she was ill, and when her family washed her body after she died. A total of 42 people from the village became infected with Ebola, 13 of whom survived. The entire community was placed under quarantine for three months, and was only released 21 days after the last known case of Ebola. During the quarantine, no one could leave their home and no one could enter or leave the community.
When Ebola first came to this village I felt bad. Because of Ebola, there was a lot of suffering, many people died, and we had setbacks in our farming activities. It was scary, especially because we were isolated and I couldn’t go to see anyone.
I came in contact with another Ebola patient who I went to visit before the quarantine period had begun. It is custom to visit people when they fall sick here. I helped the patient to dress when I visited and the day after I got a fever and became nauseous. Soon afterwards I was taken to a government hospital before being referred to the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema. I spent three weeks there but can’t recall what happened because of the severity of my fever.
Two days after I came back, two of my daughters began to show signs of Ebola. My baby passed away soon afterwards and Doris spent 12 days at the treatment centre. I also returned to find that my husband had passed away, although I don’t know if this was because of Ebola.
My own health is better now but I still suffer from joint pain. I have six dependents and there are problems with my living conditions because my possessions were all burned. The greatest needs in this community now are food, clothing, medication and agricultural tools.
Published: 14 April 2015. By IFRC
Copyright © 2015 The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies