Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ebola: A Survivor's story...

For weeks we have been waiting for stories from SURVIVORS with the hope that their experiences will encourage citizens who are showing symptoms to go to a hospital immediately. That way patients can be isolated and tested immediately, and if positive they can be transferred to a treatment centre. That's the only way we can stop further transmission as well as give people the best chance of survival. 

I know that in part we are not hearing survivor stories due to stigma and shame attached to having Ebola. Even though they survived it they had 'the disease'. Some of the survivors are being shunned by their villages and many have lost numerous family members and now have little support. However, with over 200 survivors now, we must be able to share more stories. I hope that more encouraging stories will be revealed over the next few weeks. I still think this should be a priority for those working in communications at Ministry level in order to help tackle some of the challenges we are facing such as sick people hiding in the communities or patients escaping from isolation units.

Here is the story of Musa, who survived Ebola but lost 15 close family members. His story is taken from the Awoko newspaper.

"Musa Turay of 35 A-Line, Nyandeyama New Site in Kenema city is one of the over one hundred survivors of the Ebola virus since its outbreak in the eastern region in March this year.  On Monday 4th August 2014, he spoke to Awoko explaining his experience with the virus.

Speaking with joy but with tears in his eyes, Musa said he took 28 days at the Ebola Treatment Center in Kenema and thanked God for saving his life as he lost some 15 close family members including his father. He said he has not set eyes on his mother and elder sister since his discharge from the treatment center. He said he is being told that his mother and sister are still being admitted at the Ebola Treatment Center in Kenema and he cannot visit them.

He explained that he is a footballer and that one morning he went on a jog to clear a fever he was experiencing. He said on his return, he adviced everyone around him not to touch him as he was suspecting haven contracted the Ebola virus. This came after he had lost his father and fourteen other close family members to the Ebola virus.
He said later on went on his own to the Kenema Government hospital even when he had complained of his condition to his two elder brothers. “I refused to even take a motorbike for fear of infecting the rider should I be positive with the virus,” he said. At the hospital, he said his blood sample was taken and asked to go home and return the following morning for the result. But that he insisted that he be given treatment. “I was feeling extremely hot inside me and my throat was dry making it hard for me to even swallow my saliva. I was feeling very uncomfortable and uneasy,” Musa said.
He said as he insisted for treatment to be administered to him, he was met by one Whiteman, he called William who after explaining his condition to him, immediately rushed him up to an empty bed in the Annex Ward and drip was administered. He said Williams provided him with twelve (12) packets of Grafton which he said he drank within the space of thirty minutes. He said he was also given medicines to prevent him from vomiting. He said he ended up taking drips for three days. He said when the result from his test came, he was Ebola positive.
“I was encouraged by the doctors and nurses to eat well and drink enough water and to rest,” he stated.
Musa said he and fellow patients were treated very well and they were given medicines on any other day and that each and every patient was assigned requested to drink more than three coconut jellies which were paid for by the nurses.

Musa appealed to government to increase the allowances of the nurses and ensure their maximum protection.
Musa said even though he lost his mobile phone at the hospital, he was feel happy that he survived as was certificated by the center and was given a certificate and cash amounting to Le 100, 000 (hundred thousand Leone).
He said he may have possibly contracted the virus at a hospital in Kenema where his younger sister had been admitted. He said all of his family members may have contracted the disease in that hospital.

He called on all and sundry to go to hospital and report whatever condition they feel. He said had he denied the existence of the virus or had feared going to the hospital, “I would have been dead by now, but because I rushed in quick, I was treated and I am well now,” he stated.
Musa Turay therefore call on the government and other humanitarian organization for educational assistant for him to enter college for a course which his late dad started the effort, I have no body to push me he cried.
Meanwhile, a nurse attached to the Kenema treatment center disclosed to this reporter that as at now, they are receiving Le 150, 000 as weekly allowance. She said that if this amount is increased to Le 250, 000 a week, “many nurses that are sitting on the fence will come to work” the nurse stated.

By Saffa Moriba
Monday August 11, 2014

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