Sierra Leone healthcare worker defies the odds to survive Ebola


January 28, 2015 

A Sierra Leonean health care worker treated at the British Military run Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town has survived the disease.

Sewa Mansaray (21) was admitted before Christmas just after two of his nursing colleagues and housemates had been released. Sewa was seriously ill, but defied the odds and the experts, as it was thought for a while that he was too ill to survive this terrible disease, to pull through.

Known to his friends as ‘German Man’ because of his strength, Sewa was helped out of the 20 Bed Ebola Virus Disease Treatment Centre by the British and Canadian military doctors and nurses who had cared for him for the last three weeks. Many more had gathered outside, including his fellow survivor, nursing colleague and housemate Sorie Samura who presented him his ‘Ebola Free’ certificate, to sing the Ebola song and give him a huge round of applause.  Although weak from the disease, Sewa joined in from his seat after coming out of the ‘red zone’; he then thanked the medical teams for helping him to survive.

Sewa was then transferred by ambulance to the Connaught Hospital where he was working before he caught the disease. Met by members of the Kings Health medical team, including his other fellow survivor Sarbrama Youki, he was transferred to a non-Ebola ward. It was not long after that other members of his team, including Dr. Marta Lardo – the clinical head at Kings Health Sierra Leone, joined him to wish him well and fetched a meal.

All three friends Sewa, Sorie and Sarbrama Youki (27), had started nursing school together and volunteered to work at the Connaught Hospital’s Ebola Treatment Facility at the beginning of the outbreak. They all worked and lived together helping others who had become infected.  Their spirit and respect for each other was clear to see, and for them all to survive the virus is a testament to not only their carers but their strength and will to live.

About Sewa’s strength, Sorie said, “Sewa is stubborn and he would not let Ebola defeat him; none of us would. I know that as we lay in our hospital beds, we told ourselves that we would beat Ebola. We have beaten Ebola and now we are back at work in the Ebola Holding Centre; Sewa will join us when has fully recovered”.

A Barcelona football supporter, Sewa said, “I will get strong again and come back to work to help other people who come to the Ebola Holding Centre. He went on to say, “Thank you to the British Military Health Care Workers who had looked after me and helped me to survive”.

Sorie added his thanks to all of the British Military staff who had treated all three of them, saying, “Thank you very much. We are still here working at the Ebola treatment centre. Even at the point of death they (the UK and Canadian Health Care Workers) encourage us to be strong and the care is very good”.

Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt, Commanding Officer of the 22 Field Hospital, said, “The discharge of fellow Health Care Workers like Sewa is the best possible reward for the staff working in this facility. Nurses like Sewa are heroes; they have been helping their countrymen since the beginning of this crisis initially in very difficult conditions with very limited supplies.  To see them discharged and knowing that they will soon go back to work helping more people means we are making a real difference here. These surviving health care workers will be essential to the future of Sierra Leone as it recovers from this crisis”.

CREDIT: CJIATF Headquarters