Tag Archives: Sierra Leone

Ebola wipes out every mother in Liberian village

 

In Joeblow, Liberia, every mother has been killed by Ebola leaving a village full of confused and devastated children

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

11:35AM GMT 05 Jan 2015

For 11-year-old Montgomery Philip, childhood is over. Six months ago he would have been playing football with his schoolmates, but now his job is to care for his 10-monthold baby brother Jenkie. The pair are both victims of the Ebola virus. Not because they caught the disease, but because they live in Joeblow, Liberia, where the devastating outbreak has killed every mother in the village.

The women died because social convention decrees it is they who tend to the sick and bury the dead.

When a man brought Ebola to the village and passed it on to his wife, it was 14 mothers who cared for her and eventually laid out her body. One by one they caught the disease and died, leaving 15 children orphaned.

Chloe Brett, 28, from Norwich, has been working with the British charity Street Child to try to find homes for the children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak.

“Seeing Montgomery struggle to change the baby’s nappy without any guidance is something that made me realise just how devastating this disease can be on those left behind,” she said. “He was a helpless 11-year-old having to become a man well before his time.

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“Although it feels like Liberia is coming out of the end of the crisis, it is now dealing with the aftermath, and what it has left behind is huge groups of children who are on their own. When we visited Joeblow, it seemed normal at first, with children in the street, men, a couple of old women. But then we realised there were no other women anywhere.

“We talked to a man who had survived Ebola and he told us what had happened.

All of the women had caught the disease.

“It’s now a village of no mothers and very confused children with blank looks on their faces.”

Nearly 7,000 people have died from Ebola and more than 18,000 have caught the disease, mainly in West Africa. Liberia has been hit the hardest, with 3,290 deaths so far compared with 2,085 in Sierra Leone and 1,525 in Guinea.

Street Child been working in Liberia to find homes for orphaned children over the past five years, but the Ebola crisis has made the situation far worse.

The charity estimates that the disease has left 30,000 orphans in West Africa. So far, it has helped 8,000 find new homes with relations or neighbours. Many children are being looked after in two shelters in the country’s capital, Monrovia.

Children with sick parents also need to be quarantined for 21 days to make sure they have not contracted the illness.

The orphans are placed in groups of three, but if a child starts to show symptoms of Ebola, they are isolated immediately – a terrifying prospect for a youngster who has just lost their parents.

According to Unicef, just 800 children have been resettled in Liberia to date.

“The future for these children is bleak if they do not find new homes,” added Miss Brett, who is the Liberia programme director at Street Child.

“I saw Montgomery carrying his 10-month-old brother – that is life for him now. He won’t be able to go back to school if he is looking after his brother.

“All the children wear rags because all their clothes and possessions have had to be burnt as a precaution because of the disease.

“We try to find relatives or neighbours to take the children in, but the community is scared.

“We went to one slum where every home had been affected. Every door we knocked on, we found more children who needed homes.”

Chloe Brett has been working to find homes for children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak

Miss Brett has come across households in the back streets of Monrovia where children have been sleeping with the dead body of their father for three days.

Neighbours had turned away the youngsters, fearing they could be infected.

Many simply cannot afford to feed another mouth. Ebola has caused the price of rice to increase by at least 20 per cent in Monrovia, and in some locations it has almost doubled.

Tom Dannatt, Street Child’s chief executive, said: “Thirty thousand children in West Africa will have spent this Christmas mourning the loss of a mother or father as a result of Ebola.

“They want for the most basic of human needs while the majority of us in the UK have been enjoying indulgence and celebration.”

He added: “I have no doubt that aid from larger organisations is coming, but there is an immediate need which we at Street Child can meet right now. We just need the financial support.

“On my last trip to Sierra Leone in November, when I spent time with Street Child teams visiting some of the hardest-hit communities, I learnt three things.

“Firstly, we know about Western aid and medical Ebola heroes, but the heroism of so many Sierra Leoneans at community level is inspiring – and underreported. We should invest more in these people.

“Secondly, the medical and military effort is impressive, but the pure humanitarian aid response appears to have hardly begun.

“Thirdly, not enough Sierra Leoneans know ‘enough’ about Ebola – especially in the most rural and poorest places.”

“Montgomery looks after his brother now. That is his life”.

Visit street-child.co.uk/ebolaresponse for more information

The Ebola Conspiracy Theory Chronicles By Zora Neale Firston

New_World_Order__The_Conspiracy_to_Rule_Your_Mind__FREE_MOVIE__120830

August 5, 2014 – I’m sure many of you have stumbled across a couple of these “Ebola Conspiracy Theory” conversations floating around African Diaspora social media circles. We have factions of folks who are just “oh so” suspicious about the recent unsuspecting  Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone & Guinea. Then again with the exception of Guinea we should be cautious in using the word “unsuspecting” in itself with respect to Sierra Leone in that the country had a couple of months to begin preparation when Ebola hit first in Guinea, but were rather relaxed.  Ebola could  probably be ranked as the world’s second deadliest virus secondary to Prion disease.  Nevertheless, there are people who believe that Ebola may be some sort of pseudo man-made “Western” created virus concocted in some mysterious Dr. Frankenstein Lab located in the core of the earth’s crust for the purpose of killing off African people. And for this I would like to give the longest 60 second side eye known to the history of mankind. I could think of tons of ways to kill off Africans.  Thoughts of food insecurity, contaminated water supplies and warfare come to mind.

Okay! So maybe that description in the previous line is a gross exaggeration of the commentary, but you get the jest. All in all, West Africans in particular seem to be generally mistrustful of catastrophes that occur in our communities as it relates to disease outbreaks (or any thing for that matter) and feel that there is always a major culprit at the end with a pale face. Are such accusations plausible?

Possibly! There are a million and one reasons why Africans should be mistrustful of the World Powers which is in essence an extension of “The Empire”. Thoughts of slavery, brutality and the sadistic acts waged on the people of Africa come to mind.

I mean really? How could this virulent virus that has been basically linked to remote isolated villages in the Republic of Congo make it’s way all the way to countries on the west coast of Africa? Sidebar: The actually first outbreak of Ebola was noted in Sudan dating back to the late 70′s. Then of course the recent revelation of a “secret serum” tested on two missionary workers who are conveniently un-African do not serve as any consolation prize in easing people’s suspicious. Thoughts of biological weaponry and experimental testing on unsuspecting communities of poor disenfranchised African populations come to mind as well. Well as cruel as it may sound, pharmaceutical companies are in the business of business.

So what’s the 60 second side eye for? The side eye was meant for those of us who believe that “The Empire” needs to operate discretely to conspire against Africans any-more. Is it really any big secret that the world cares nothing for Africa at large?  I doubt that “The Powers” that be really need to go to great lengths to conspire against “us” at this point in time and for what?  Conspiring involves planning which involves a great matter of time that people who are so removed from you are not willing to invest in although inaction may still reap the same outcome but by default. African leaders have bought and sold the soul of it’s people ages ago. All Ebola did was simply expose all of the systems of inequality at work which include our so called healthcare infrastructure and the arrogance of our leaders.

In addition, why do Africans always expect the Western World to come save us?  On one end, many of you despise with a passion  all of the attributes the “West” has to offer. However, when the ish hits the fan you want protection from the same folks who conspire against you as you claim to begin with in the first place. That idea is absolute madness!  You can’t have it both ways.  Where is Africa’s scientific community and why aren’t governments investing  in Bio-tech?   Thoughts of Cheikh Anta Diop come to mind!  America may have only given that “secret serum” to their own citizens for a myriad of reasons. Heaven forbid that this “secret serum” be given to  Africans  and then they suffer an allergic reaction that kills. Can you imagine how the “Ebola Conspiracy Theory” would run wild then? Listen! We are the ones we have been waiting for Africa!  If you wait for what is oppressing you to free you then expect to die a thousands deaths!   To be continued…..

Photo courtesy: www.disclosetv.com

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DSU prof: Secret US trials spread Ebola

 

It is unclear whether or not a Delaware State University professor will be disciplined for alleging in a Liberian newspaper that the U.S. government contributed to the Ebola outbreak by using citizens in some African countries as guinea pigs for secret human trials.

According to the Daily Observer, a newspaper based in Monrovia Liberia, Dr. Cyril Broderick, an associate professor with DSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, said that he decided to publish the letter in response to various Internet reports that implied that the African people are gullible and ignorant.

“I think I have the right to express my opinion especially if I speak the truth and I think it’s best for the truth to be spoken or else we will have worse things around then,” Broderick, born and bred in Liberia, said Friday when reached at his home in Dover.

He added, “I was trying to make sure that people are aware of this and can get some help.

Carlos Holmes, spokesman for Delaware State University, said that the issue is an ongoing personnel matter and could not comment on whether or not action would be taken against Broderick.

“I don’t know the source of his thoughts on the matter here as expressed in the Daily Observer article, but they do not come from any research going on at Delaware State University,” Holmes said.

“Dr. Broderick enjoys the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in this country.”

Broderick alleges that reports, which he does not cite, assert that the U.S. Department of Defense has been funding such human trials through a $140 million contract with Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, just weeks before the Ebola epidemic ravaged West Africa.

He thinks the Ebola trials were designed as “biological weapons.”

People he personally knows have died from the horrific virus. As of Sept. 21 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported there have been 6,263 cases and 2,917 deaths from Ebola in Senegal, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

“It’s just completely turned my whole inside out,” Broderick said.

RELATED: Five things to know about the Ebola virus

A Washington Post article Thursday looked into Broderick’s claims and published comments from readers that suggest Broderick has promulgated misinformation about the deadly disease. The claims could contradict efforts by President Barrack Obama to deploy up to 3,000 troops to West Africa and commit over $700 million to fight the outbreak, the Post said.

Regardless, Broderick said that he is not concerned that his words will be misinterpreted by the people of Liberia and surrounding countries and cause mistrust of the aid workers in the area. In fact, he supports the military efforts.

“It was never the intent, I don’t think it [the letter] would be harmful,” he said.

Jen Rini can be reached at (302) 324-2386 or jrini@delawareonline.com. Follow @JenRini on Twitter.

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Ebola outbreak prompts nation-wide lockdown in Sierra Leone Likely the largest lockdown in recent history, WHO says

The Associated Press Posted: Sep 19, 2014 9:36 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014 7:34 PM ET

More than six million people are currently under lockdown in Sierra Leone, leaving normally bustling markets and streets empty.

Sierra Leone confined its 6 million people to their homes Friday for the next three days as the Ebola-ravaged West African country began what was believed to be the most sweeping lockdown against disease since the Middle Ages.

In a desperate effort to bring the outbreak under control, thousands of health care workers began going house to house in crowded urban neighbourhoods and remote villages, hoping to find and isolate infected people.

President Ernest Bai Koroma urged his countrymen to co-operate.

“The survival and dignity of each and every Sierra Leonean is at stake,” he said Thursday night in an address to the nation.

Health officials said they planned to urge the sick to leave their homes and seek treatment. There was no immediate word on whether people would be forcibly removed, though authorities warned that anyone on the streets during the lockdown without an emergency pass would be subject to arrest.

‘Many of our people have died’

More than 2,600 people have died in West Africa over the past nine months in the biggest outbreak of the virus ever recorded, with Sierra Leone accounting for more than 560 of those deaths.

Many fear the crisis will grow far worse, in part because sick people afraid of dying at treatment centres are hiding in their homes, potentially infecting others.

Sierra Leone Ebola

Police guard a roadblock as Sierra Leone’s government enforces a three-day lockdown on movement of all people in an attempt to fight the Ebola virus in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Friday. (Michael Duff/Associated Press)

However, international experts warned there might not be enough beds for new patients found during the lockdown, which runs through Sunday.

Most people seemed to be taking the order seriously, and there were no immediate reports of resistance.

“It will protect our country from this dangerous virus,” said Ishmail Bangura, a Freetown resident. “Many of our people have died — nurses and doctors, too — so if they ask us to stay home for three days, for me it is not bad.”

Attacks on aid workers, journalists

Across West Africa, health care workers have been attacked by villagers who accused them of spreading Ebola. Some citizens have also violently resisted efforts to quarantine them.

In the latest case of violence against health care workers, six suspects have been arrested in the killings of eight people in Guinea who were on an Ebola education campaign, the Guinean government said Friday.

The victims were attacked by villagers armed with rocks and knives. The dead included three local journalists.

As the lockdown took effect, wooden tables lay empty at the capital’s usually vibrant markets, and only a dog scrounging for food could be seen on one normally crowded street in Freetown.

Amid the heat and frequent power cuts, many residents sat on their front porches, chatting with neighbours.

Ambulances were on standby to bring any sick people to the hospital for isolation. The health care workers also planned to hand out 1.5 million bars of soap and dispense advice on Ebola.

“We hope and pray that when we talk to people they will take it as counselling,” said Rebecca Sesay, a community Ebola education team leader. “That is why we are all out here.”

Largest lockdown in recent history

The World Health Organization said it has no record of any previous nationwide shutdown of this scale and suggested it has not happened since the plague devastated Europe during the Middle Ages.

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Guinea’s Red Cross health workers wear protective suits at an Ebola treatment centre in Conakry, Guinea’s capital city. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)

The closest parallel seems to have been a plague scare in India in 1994, when officials closed off a region around the city of Surat, shutting down schools, offices, movie theatres and banks.

UNICEF said the government campaign provides an opportunity to tell people how to protect themselves.

“If people don’t have access to the right information, we need to bring lifesaving messages to them, where they live, at their doorsteps,” said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF representative in Sierra Leone.

In a statement, the UN children’s agency said the operation needs to be carried out “in a sensitive and respectful manner.”

© The Associated Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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