Before joining the Red Cross, I was working at the Ebola holding centre at Koidu government hospital and I came into contact with someone with Ebola on 8 December, 2014. The next two days I was attacked by a high fever so I travelled to the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre Kenema where I got treatment for 13 days. I’m now OK, so I’m now a survivor. I thank God for my life but it was also so sad for me because 12 of us contracted the sickness and only two of us survived. But I thank God I am coping much better now.
I am now assisting with child care at the Red Cross treatment centre in Kono. I work in the kindergarten (an interim observation area for asymptomatic children under the age of seven), taking care of contact children. I spend time with them and take care of them. I play with them. I don’t want to stay at home, lonely, because when I stay at home I will think about my friends who passed away. When I am working with the children it’s much better for me.
Because of my status, because I am a nurse, my duty is to save lives and to take care of children. So when I received a call to help, I decided to assist them and that’s why I am here now, doing my job. Because I am a nurse.
We have had two children stay at the kindergarten so far. We have Kumba, a female. She was discharged after surviving Ebola, and now we have Alusa who is 14 months old. His mother has contracted Ebola and is now in the community care centre. That is why we were asked to take care of the child, because we want to know if the child has contracted the disease or not. After 21 days if he has no symptoms, we will discharge the child back home.
When the mother is infected, we know that if the child is separated from her, they will be asking about them. So for us here we kind of act like the mother. Whatever things we have for the children we give to them – food, clothes, shelter. There are many nurses who take care of them. In fact, we have five shifts. We have toys, we have food, we have clothes, we have a lot of things for them.
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(Story originally published 21 April 2015)