Ebola outbreak – interview with Aisha Kamara, 32, Nurse and Ebola survivor
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).
Volunteers, survivors, and their families were stigmatized and discriminated against, many kicked out of their homes, or banned from markets.
Aisha Kamara, 32, is a nurse and was working at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone when the first case of Ebola surfaced there. She had also treated her father, who tested positive for Ebola. Two weeks after he passed away, Aisha was diagnosed with Ebola.
AISHA KAMARA, 32, NURSE AND EBOLA SURVIVOR
00:00 – 00:14 I lost my father, my mother, my stepmother. I lost nine relatives, including my husband.
00:14 – 00:38 Ebola just came and destroyed all our families. But I am happy because it has come to an end. For the others, we say thanks to god because it has come to an end. But it is not easy. As young as I am, I have carried a burden that I’m not supposed to carry. But so, god say.
Aisha is now, on her own, caring for her own daughter, and her sister’s four children, aged 3 – 13. She receives some support from aid organizations, books, school fees, food, but doesn’t know how long that support will last. That is her worry now – if the support stops, who will help her?
00:38 – 00:54 Really, it is not easy. The job that I am doing, the money is small. It is not enough. It is not really enough to take care of them.
00:54 – 01:02 I just have to have some hope. I’m asking god not to let my efforts go in vain.
01:02 – 01:22 For the children, I would want them to help, give them scholarships for their schooling. As for me, if they give me money, I will be doing business, supporting the people, the children, because it is not easy. Really.
01:22 – 01:46 I was stigmatized. I was the first, because nurses were dying – I was the first nurse to survive. It was not easy. People were looking. They were saying Aisha’s going to be discharged today. The government hospital was filled with people. When I came out people would come around me, ask me, did you survive from Ebola?
01:46 – 02:00 I went to the bank to take my salary to buy some food. They rejected me. I wanted to kill myself the time I discharged. I was stigmatized. I went to pierce my ear – they rejected my money.
02:00 – 02:16 The place I was residing, they don’t extend food, they don’t eat my food. They say I’m Ebola. It was not easy, really. But my friends were encouraging me, saying Aisha, don’t kill yourself. Come out. I was just inside house, crying.
02:16 – 02:35 Even at my working place, my colleagues when I go back to work, I was alone. Nobody was sitting at me. I was seated alone for the whole day. Nobody talked to me and I did not talk to nobody. They stigmatized me. Only now, only now they are coming closer to us.
02:35 – 03:04 I am a Muslim. The place I normally go for prayer, when I went there, all of them go off. They leave me alone, standing. So it was not easy for me. I asked God, why you make me to survive? Because I have survived, people are stigmatizing me. When I pass they say look at the girl. Ebola survivor. I was the first nurse that survived so it was not easy.
After surviving Ebola, Aisha was approached by the Red Cross to come work at the treatment centre in Kenema.
03:04 – 03:30 We know more of the signs and symptoms of the Ebola. Then, we are dealing with children. So they talked to us. We are survivors. It is not easy for us to contract the disease. So he talked to us so that we would help diagnosing, if we see someone presenting the signs and symptoms.
03:30 – 03:38 If at the end of the day, all of them succeeded, I will be happy.
03:38 – 03:52 For now, happy because Ebola, it has come to an end, and I am living with my younger ones. Though it is not easy, but the Lord is providing.
03:52 - ENDS