Ebola Survivors Give Experience

Four survivors of the deadly Ebola virus have been explaining their ordeal while undergoing their respective treatments at Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in Monrovia.

Kyndy Kobbah, a health worker who got infected at the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Zayzay Mulbah, Ahmed Kamara and Korta Bonarwolo , a Physician Assistant who contracted the disease at the Redemption Hospital yesterday mounted the podium at the Ministry of Information and explained problems they encountered while receiving treatment at the ETUs.

Kyndy Kobbah said she and other health workers contracted the disease from a man who was treated at the hospital. She said after experiencing the Ebola virus symptom, she excluded herself from her children and moved to the ELWA ETU where the situation was not favorable when it comes to treatment, food supply and care.

Kyndy Kobbah who is one of the patients who was treated with the Zmapp drug while unconscious said she could hear Dr. Brown saying that although she was unconscious, she needed to live thus the drug was administered.

Madam Kobbah who claimed to have been mistakenly sprayed while in the ETU said she was seriously sick and felt the smell of the spray, something which made her to start fighting for life not knowing that she was sprayed mistakenly instead of a dead body that was lying next to her.

She told the Ebola News Conference that the condition at the ETU was pathetic because proper care was not given. “They timely served us breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she said.

Explaining her ordeal with the administration of the Zmapp drug, Madam Kobbah said the drug is injectable but she did not recognize it when it was first administered because she was unconscious. However she said during the second time it was given her, she observed that it is a liquid solution that can be put into the drip before its administration.

“The first time I took it, I came through from my unconsciousness and my entire body was normal and the second time started talking like a baby who is learning to talk. I thank God for bringing me through and secondly the health workers headed by Dr. Brown,” she said in a sad tone.

She lauded the children charity for giving her family a bag of rice after she was discharged from the ETU saying, “The County I worked for has not given my children anything while they were quarantined and they have not visited me since I got home although they used to call me while in hospital. The health team only sprayed my house when I was discharged and in the process, they damaged all of my clothes.”

She also complained that since leaving hospital she has not received any Physco-social counseling from anyone and her children that were quarantined and came down with malaria had to treat themselves.

She said Ebola patients can survive provided they are given good care, food and attention from health Care Workers, family and friends.

Another survivor, Ahmed Kamara who got infected while trying to help a neighbor who was sick said he isolated himself from his family and moved into the ETU where his test was taken and later treated following hours of waiting at the ETU.

Survivor Kamara also complained on the delay in feeding the patients at the ETU saying “breakfast came at 12noon, launch at 3pm and dinner at 10 to 11pm daily.

Kamara called on the Government of Liberia (GOL) to give serious attention to the plight of the health Care Workers (HCW) because they are in the frontline in the fight against Ebola.

Zayzay Mulbah a survivor from the Medecine Sans Frontiers (MSF) Ebola Treatment Center at ELWA told the news conference that he is a survivor of Ebola and is working at the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Ebola Treatment Center ELWA 3, in Monrovia as a psychosocial support staff.

‘It’s been one and half months since I recovered from the Ebola virus disease. But how I contracted the virus is something that leaves me wondering for the rest of my life. I don’t know whether I contracted it from a relative, or a close friend or by touching something that had been contaminated by an infected person. I was completely heartbroken when my test result at the MSF’s ELWA-3 Ebola Treatment Unit was confirmed,” he said.

“I was positive for Ebola. I did not believe it. I cried profusely. This was a turning moment in my life. I didnot believe from the onset that Ebola was real. I doubted its existence. But here I was, sitting in an isolation center confirmed for Ebola,” he narrated.

He said before getting sick, his friends and him would hang out at entertainment centers around their community, drinking stout and joking that it was Ebola medicine. He said it was not too long when he started feeling sick. “It was after the fast and prayer that I started feeling symptoms of malaria and also started vomiting followed by diarrhea,” he added.

“My mother thought that I was poisoned. Even still, my family was taking all the necessary precautions even though we were not sure I had Ebola. Whenever I vomited, my wife disinfected my vomit before cleaning it away. My wife and my daughter stopped sleeping by me in the same bedroom. To date, I am the only person who got infected in my family, because of these precautions,” he said.

He said his condition was getting worse by the day and on August 23, he decided to go to the treatment center at ELWA Three. “I went to the center and they did my test and confirmed me positive for Ebola. I was treated and after nine days, I recovered and I was discharged to go home,” he said.

“When I got back home, members of my community in CaIdwell came to welcome me. The elders of my community were happy about my recovery.Ebola can be deadly when people don’t exercise care. People affected by the disease have a chance of survival if and when they seek early treatment,” Zayzay Mulbah said.

He encouraged people who are sick with Ebola in Liberia not to waste time to seek treatment, saying, “I share my story with you today to inspire you that having Ebola is not a death sentence.”

Mulbah extended his profound thanks to the staff of MSF for saving his life noting that they have given new meaning to his life. “Now I’ve dedicated my life to the fight against the deadly epidemic. I am happy to be back working at the Ebola Treatment Unit to care for patients who are battling with the virus,” he concluded.

The Physician Assistant Krolia Bonarwolo who contracted the disease after treating a nurse at the Redemption Hospital narrated the suffering underwent when he was diagnosed with the Ebola virus.

However he noted that since the intervention of MSF, World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners’ treatment and care have improved.

He said the issue of survivors after leaving hospital must be followed by physco-social counseling, food to eat and empower to combat Ebola because when one goes to the ETU everything they have can be destroyed.