Ebola Survivor's Stories

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“We Are Really Suffering Here”- A Story for the Sierra Leone Ebola Widows

Throughout the Ebola epidemic, many countries and organizations were eager to provide relief to the habitants of Sierra Leone. At the beginning and during the heat of the epidemic, NGOs and government aid were widely available. However, as time passed, funding dried up and help withdrew from the country. Although the situation has gotten better in terms of public perception, there hasn’t been enough aid to help survivors or awareness to curb the stigma society has placed on these women.

 

“There is no access to shelter, even now, some people are saying we still have the virus inside of us” (Ebola Survivors)

Unfortunately, this means being an Ebola survivor results in being an outcast, infringed from society. Through our conversation with the Ebola survivors’ group, they mentioned that many members of the community will not speak to them, and oftentimes find themselves homeless since landlords won’t provide housing to them. “There is no access to shelter, even now, some people are saying we still have the virus inside of us” (Ebola Survivors). Many survivors are left with little to no choice to make ends meet. In our conversations with the women Ebola survivors, they mention, “Livelihood as women is difficult. Some of us have resorted to becoming sex-workers to survive. You need to go to a man so they can give you something to eat” (Ebola Survivors). The epidemic also left many kids without families. Because these orphans are so young, many Ebola surviving women have taken it upon themselves to find a way to provide for them in a time when they struggle to provide for themselves.

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The women shared that they have unique medical needs the country is not equipped or willing to address. Complications from Ebola can remain long after the acute infection is gone including headaches, joint pain and eye problems. Ebola specific care is unfortunately not included in the free healthcare that is offered in Sierra Leone. The women don’t have the financial means or resources to seek out specialized care, leaving women feeling even more isolated and forgotten. They confided in us saying they would like specialized medical facilities for Ebola survivors, reiterating the statement “We Are Really Suffering Here.”

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After hearing the stories of these Ebola survivors, we felt an obligation to share their stories with as many people that will listen. We find it important to help educate and spread the information of the current situation in Sierra Leone while being mindful and respectful of their stories and experiences.


The World Health Organization has a page on their website dedicated to survivors and those who suffered with Ebola. The page is helpful in providing a more clear and cohesive part to this story and the story of Sierra Leone.