Sheriff Mahmud Ismail – The Ebola virus disease is a very painful ailment. It usually starts with headache, as the patient’s condition deteriorates; the pain spreads through the body, muscle ache, fatigue and loss of appetite set in. Stooling and vomiting then follows, causing hunger and dehydration. Weakened by pain, starvation and thirst, the patient now becomes like a punch bag to the virus- helpless! As the wicked disease continues to mercilessly inflict more agony, bleeding and bloody diarrhea herald the ghastly terminal manifestations of a battered immunity. No wonder the high mortality associated with the Ebola virus.
Since the epidemic broke out in Sierra Leone in May 2014, according to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, there have been 7,839 confirmed cases and 2,718 confirmed deaths. Meanwhile, there are as many as 2,082 suspected cases and 158 suspected deaths. There are also up to 287 probable cases and 208 probable deaths. Those who survived, live to tell a story of cruelty and suffering.
Emmanuel Kamara, is a strong believer in Christ and calls himself a “prayer warrior” but when the Ebola virus struck him, his faith in God was seriously tested. “I vomited until my throat started aching. I asked God, why are you doing this to me?”
Alimatu Mansaray, 26, told me that when the virus really hit her, she lost control and was unconscious for some time. “I didn’t even know from which part of my body I was losing fluids- from the back, the front- everywhere!
Adam Tonronka, 24, broke in tears as she shares her sorrow; “I vomited blood and my stool was also bloody; I felt pain all over my body. I also lost my 3 year old son!”
This virus rudely challenges the caring nature and hospitality of Sierra Leoneans, capitalized on the vulnerability of the poor and wrecked such incredible havoc. But a change in those noble practices and behavior of an unsuspecting population would mean a change in their culture; naturally, this would require time and a lot of education.
The consequence is the calamity that has befallen many. If only people could stop harboring the sick; if only people could avoid body contact with infected persons; if only people could stop washing the bodies; if only people could seek safe burials; if only they could seek immediate medical help; if only such medical services would be promptly available; and if only the general living conditions of the masses could be improved; such deaths and suffering would be prevented in any future outbreak.