Ebola survivor cries for help: I have severe joint pains


May 1, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

Emma Bangura, a secondary school certificate holder who lives in Kambia is one of the 3,526 persons who have so far survived the Ebola Virus Disease. While Emma is happy to be alive, she is nonetheless facing other serious social and health problems, including pains in her joints.

“Since I was discharged from the treatment centre, I have been experiencing serious joint pains. Although I have been treating myself with hot rub, I am still feeling the pain in me,” she told Concord Times in an exclusive interview.

Emma is now pleading with the government and its partners to ensure her health and those of other survivors do not deteriorate further: “I need medication for myself. My other colleague survivors are also experiencing the same problem. They too need medication.”

Emma’s situation appears to mirror the general feelings among Ebola survivors. Many are complaining of losing their vision and other ailments.

It is not clear, however, whether the aggressive Ebola treatment given to those infected is responsible for these ailments although survivors believe that is the situation. Concord Times understands that the U.S. Centres for Disease Control is investigating a possible after-effect of Ebola treatment.

Emma was infected through her fiancé’s mother in Freetown. “I was quarantined in Freetown after the death of my fiancé’s mother but escaped and left for Kambia where I stayed with my mother. When I arrived in Kambia, my mother immediately called on the 117 hotline for them to come and take me away,” she narrated.

In September last year when Emma was infected, Kambia district did not have a treatment centre and she had to be taken to the treatment centre at Hastings, near Freetown. “I thought I will not survive, but the nurses and doctors were very caring,” Emma continued.

After three weeks in the hospital, Emma was discharged and returned to Kambia where she is now living with her two-year-old child. Emma has since been employed at the Observatory Interim Care Center (OICC) as a Care Giver.

Even with her new job, Emma says life is difficult and would like more support for Ebola survivors from particularly the international and local non-government organizations: “I would like these organizations to provide us scholarships because most of us were students before the outbreak. Most of my colleague survivors are breadwinners.”

Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in May, 2014, the country has lost some 3,535 lives, including women, children, 10 medical doctors and over 200 nurses.