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‘Ebola survivors should be encouraged’

- urges Mental Health Coalition

OCTOBER 16, 2014 By Josephine A. Seppeh

Public Relations Officer of Mental Health Coalition yesterday urged that Ebola survivors should be encouraged rather than ostracised by communities because they are better off than those whose statuses are unknown.

Since the outbreak, some 571 persons have survived the deadly virus out of almost 3,000 infections spanning five months, according to the daily release by the Emergency Operations Centre on 15 October. A further 931 individuals have lost their battle with the virus.

During a meeting at the offices of the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (SLANGO) at Tengbeh Town, George Bindi noted that “Ebola survivors are mostly traumatized and stressed because of what they have gone through; it is the responsibility of all and sundry to accommodate and encourage them because they are part of the society”.

“When people get infected with Ebola they have one thought in mind that they would die and such thinking can lead them to panic, fear, and terror and often find themselves in hopeless situations. The community thinks the survivors are dangerous people and therefore rejects them, but it is funny to know that Ebola survivors are the safest people to be with because they have survived the virus and stand a better chance to make it in life,” he added.

Bindi observed that a good number of Ebola survivors end up dying in Africa because of the psychological effect, and stressed that the mental wellbeing of survivors is relevant and that they must be treated with respect because “they are our brothers and sisters”.

“They are just victims of circumstance,” he noted. “Experience is the best teacher, therefore Ebola survivors when encouraged, would help in eradicating the disease and can help share correct information about the disease because they have once been victims.”

He encouraged people to look at Ebola survivors in a different perspective and in a positive way, to help transform their lives, instead of being stigmatized by the community in which they live.

“Ebola survivors are heroes and heroines because they have survived the disease and would forever live to tell the story,” he concluded.