News / Africa

    Sierra Leone Ebola Survivors Want More Help — Fast

    Ebola survivors Massah Stevens and Yusif Koroma stand outside the Sierra Leone association of Ebola survivors, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Jan. 6, 2016. (Nina Devries /VOA)
    Ebola survivors Massah Stevens and Yusif Koroma stand outside the Sierra Leone association of Ebola survivors, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Jan. 6, 2016. (Nina Devries /VOA)

    Sierra Leone has been Ebola-free for two months. While the situation has improved in some ways, many Ebola survivors say they are not getting enough help to rebuild their lives.

    Ebola survivors discussed their frustrations recently at a meeting of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors in Freetown, the country’s capital.

    Each survivor was entitled to a discharge package after recovery. This was to include a bag of rice, a foam mattress and some cash, equal to about $70.

    However, some said they were still waiting for that package. Others said it came very late.

    Massah Stevens, a nurse who caught Ebola from a patient while working in a treatment center, said she did not get her discharge package until 10 months after her release. She said she managed because her husband could help out, but not all survivors have that luxury.

    “They have lost their parents. They have lost their mother, father,” she said.

    The Ministry of Social Welfare and Gender and Children Affairs is responsible for the packages. Tina Davies, who directs Ebola survivor activities within the ministry, admitted that some discharge packages had been delayed. This was because Ebola treatment units did not inform the ministry fast enough that survivors had been discharged, she said.

    Davies said most survivors had received their packages by now.

    Too little, some say

    Still, survivors like Yusif Koroma said the supplies weren't nearly enough compensation for what he had gone through.

    “The family is vulnerable. I won’t eat that bag of rice alone; I have to share,”  Koroma said.

    More help is needed, survivors said — and fast.  

    Davies said more help would be coming through a specific program for Ebola survivors. Now that the country is Ebola-free, she said, the ministry can focus more on issues of survivors.

    The government is looking at a long-term program for survivors that gives them scholarships, skills training and startup kits for businesses.

    Davies added that survivors can go to health clinics for continued treatment of medical issues.

    Survivors have received psychological counseling as well as their discharge packages, so "it’s not like nothing is happening," she said. "I think it’s that cultural aspect, that people want cash in their hands, but we’re trying to provide services that are sustainable for survivors. You get livelihood skills [and] support them through education, to empower them.”

    Davies said she could understand the frustration that arises when things are not moving as quickly as survivors would like, but she insisted that Ebola survivors were a priority for Sierra Leone and that they would not be forgotten.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora