Ebola survivors help fight disease in Sierra Leone

Ebola Outbreak

A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone on July 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Tommy Trenchard)

Ebola survivors and volunteers are helping care for patients and children affected by the disease in Sierra Leone, where the fight against Ebola still lags.

At a care center on the outskirts of Freetown, survivors and volunteers are working together to look after the indirect victims of the Ebola outbreak – children. The St. George Foundation care center in Western Area Rural District has become home for many of the children who have been orphaned, affected or abandoned due to Ebola.

In a roped off area at the center, 22-year-old Ebola survivor Adama spends her time looking after children who are either known Ebola contacts or who are feeling unwell.

Ebola survivors have a high immunity to the virus, making them ideally suited for working with suspected and confirmed Ebola patients. But it’s a job that some, including the children’s own families, refuse to do.

“A lot of children in Western Area district have been stigmatized because when children catch Ebola, discrimination is the order of the day,” Karim Kamara, a social worker at St. George Foundation, said. “People don’t want to come closer to them. They discriminate and they push them far away. And lots of children are presently on the streets suffering.”

The children who arrive at the center are kept in semi-isolation and looked after by Ebola survivors for a few weeks to see if they have any symptoms of the virus. If they are symptom free, they are allowed to join the other children in everyday activities.

The commitment of survivors like Adama and volunteers like Karim are giving these children the care and attention they need until they can hopefully be re-united with their families.

The governments of the countries worst hit by Ebola have called for a cancellation of their external debt. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea say all their resources need to be concentrated on re-building their countries after the deadly outbreak.

Story by CCTV News