Caring for children orphaned by Ebola or been exposed to the disease is a tricky business. These children have to be isolated for 21 days to ensure they’re not infected and to reduce the risk of transmission to others. These children still need motherly love and care and for that it takes a brave survivor to step up to the task. Survivors of Ebola become immune to the disease, allowing them to care for these children as their parents would.
29 year old nurse Alima is one of such survivors of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) who is determined to give hope and care to orphans and other affected children during the Ebola Crisis.
29 year old nurse Alima is one of such survivors of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) who is determined to give hope and care to orphans and other affected children during the Ebola Crisis. Alima works at the newly opened Observation Interim Care Center (OICC) in Bo District, opened by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and supported by partners like World Vision. The OICC provides care for Ebola orphans, children whose parents are infected and those whose parents who are quarantine.
“I was working in Mercy Hospital, the patient I was attending to was stable at first, as he reported signs of Malaria, later the condition of the patient changed. The doctor advised that the patient be tested for Ebola and by the time the results were out the patient had died and the result was Ebola positive,” Alima explained.
After contracting the disease, Alima sought early treatment at the Kenema Holding Centre where she spent several weeks. Though she lost most of her colleague nurses that were brought to the centre, she was encouraged by doctors and other nurses to stay strong and not lose faith. After spending weeks at the centre she was declared Ebola-free.
“I was treated well at the treatment centre and that made me want to give back to the fight against Ebola. That is why I am working at this centre,” Alima said, sitting under a young mango tree, administering malaria syrup to a one year old child. The child’s mother was a victim of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD).
“The child has undergone a second Ebola test which is still negative but we are waiting for the results of the final test to declare him Ebola negative,” Alima said. These rigorous tests came about to eliminate the possibility of false negatives which were rampant at the beginning of the crisis.
“I want to give back by helping out, as I know now that I cannot get Ebola.”
“I want to give back by helping out, as I know now that I cannot get Ebola,” Alima said with a happy smile. Alima is proud to give back so that children in these situations can be looked after and later be reunited with their parents or families.
Though she still faces stigmatisation in her neighbourhood, she is not deterred and is determined to work to put smiles on the faces of the children in this grim crisis.