Ebola outbreak – interview with Kadiatu Bangura, 13, Ebola survivor, Waterloo, Sierra Leone
Two years following the declaration of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, communities and governments in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are moving into the recovery phase, determined to make their countries stronger before Ebola decimated families, economies and health care systems.
Through its five pillared response, the IFRC, in support of the three affected National Societies, played a key role in helping to bring the outbreak to an end. Thousands of volunteers were involved in contact tracing, case management, beneficiary communications and social mobilization, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials (SDB).
While it was the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak the world had ever witnessed, there were also survivors.
Kadiatu Bangura, 13, is an Ebola survivor. She was only 11 when she arrived at the Red Cross Ebola treatment centre in Kenema. Her entire family had Ebola and had all been sent to different treatment centres. Kadiatu was by herself, very weak and lethargic. However, gradually, over the course of two weeks, Kadiatu grew stronger, and was one of the first patients to be discharged, having had two Ebola tests come back negative. She now lives in Waterloo with her mother, brother and other family members. Only her father has not returned. No one is sure what happened to him. She is strong and healthy. Math is her favourite subject but her best grade is in religious studies.
KADIATU BANGURA, 13, EBOLA SURVIVOR, WATERLOO, SIERRA LEONE
What do you remember about the time when you were sick with Ebola?
00:00 – 00:15 I remember when I was sick, they took me from Connaught hospital to Kenema.
00:15 – 00:23 When they took me to Kenema, they gave me food the next day, but I couldn’t eat.
00:23 – 00:37 The doctor came and urged me to eat. Then later, I could eat small, some soft drinks and biscuits, but I still didn’t have an appetite. But I ate small and went to sleep.
What did you think when you saw the Red Cross people dressed up in that equipment (PPE)?
00:37 – 00:40 I thought they were the devil.
How were you feeling inside?
00:40 – 00:46 I was feeling bad in my stomach, then my neck. My neck was aching and I was also thinking about my mother.
00:46 – 01:03 I started feeling better. I was playing. They brought me balloons and some paper and crayons and some peanuts because I really like them.
01:03 – 01:12 When it came time for me to be discharged, the staff brought me music and they said, this is time for you to dance. So we danced to Michael Jackson.
01:12 – 01:17 I was very happy when I came back and saw my mother.
Talks about her normal daily routine
01:17 – 01:26 When I wake up, I wash my face, then I sweep, then I wash and dress and go to school with my brother.
01:26 – 01:32 After school, my mother helps me wash my uniform, and I then help her cook. After that I will study and then go and play.
01:32 – 01:37 I want to be a lawyer.
01:37 – 01:42 I want to help some people.
The entire family got Ebola and were sent to different hospitals and treatment centres. Everyone returned except her dad. She doesn’t know what happened to him. He was a farmer. She cries when talking about him.
01:42 – 01:56 I still remember him because he took care of me.
01:56 – 02:09 While my father was with us, we had a better life. What we are doing now, selling charcoal, we didn’t have to do before. My father would take care of us. He wouldn’t let us go to other neighbourhoods. Now we have to, so we can eat.
Is there anything you would like to say to the nurses who helped you get better?
02:09 – 02:17 I want to thank them for what they did for me. Because if not for them, I would never have seen my mother again.
02:17 - ENDS