18 June 2014

Liberia: 'Doubting Ebola' - New Kru Town Residents in Denial Over Outbreak

Photo: Boakai Fofana/allAfrica
A woman fetches water from a well in a populated Monrovia slum.

Monrovia — News of an Ebola presence in Liberia is not new as since March the virus is said to have caused the death of several persons mainly in areas bordering Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Foyah in Lofa County has been at the center of the Ebola outbreak with deaths reported, but in recent days, New Kru Town, a densely populated community near Monrovia has hit the news with reports of the deadly virus killing at least four people.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has warned people to keep away from communities in which cases of the virus are reported. In Monrovia and other communities, New Kru Town is considered by many a no go zone with people not wanting to venture near that community.

But while the community seems a danger zone from afar, people living within are going about their normal business, selling roasted cassava, cooking consumable on the main streets, quite interestingly few meters away from the Redemption Hospital where a death accordingly from Ebola was reported.

Many are dealing scratch cards and motorcyclists commuting people as usual in contrast to the Ministry of Health pronouncement of Ebola outbreak, which may cause panic amongst the populace.

The main street looks busy as people walk ups and down going about their normal business; students were also seen on their way from school.

All of the people who spoke to FrontPageAfrica do not believe the story about an Ebola outbreak in their community.

Morris Gray -A Winner Betting Company Agent

"I lived New Kru Town Carpel street it was this gone [last] Saturday we learned from Redemption people that one of their nurses died and the nurse died from Ebola by touching a patient in hospital, the nurses decided to go home for that few time and Sunday no one came to work there are lots of patients in Redemption now and the nurses are refusing to touch them they say that they need a medical doctor to come and access the place before they start the work.

As for me I have been hearing that Ebola is in New Kru Town but actually I can see people eating public food, I work on this road I have been eating public food for the past Saturday now up till Tuesday, as for me I have never seen Ebola patient before. I believe that there is no Ebola in New Kru Town, what I want to tell the government is that I think they need to bring expert in New Kru Town to come and check if there is an Ebola patient in New Kru Town. I do not know the family the government is talking about that died from Ebola I only heard it as rumor, I do not know the family and I cannot locate the family they are talking about."

William Nagbe- sick patient turned Away

"I have been hearing about this Ebola business from people in my community that Ebola is in New Kru Town but I do not know where they are getting this story from, I do not know whether people are leaving New Kru Town. I only came here to treat myself but the security at the gate did not allow me to enter and this is the first time for this thing to happen to me since I have been taking treatment here so I do not know whether it is the Ebola or not because the people at Redemption are not telling us why we should not enter the hospital. I been there about three times and they cannot allow me in."

Thomas Nimely- a scratch card dealer

"I have heard about this Ebola news in New Kru Town, I'm not afraid because I do not believe what they are saying, the story that I have heard is that one of the nurses died from Ebola, the information is conflicting other people are saying that the four people who died are because of family curse, some of the family are based in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

I ate cold bowl this morning and from here I am going to eat cold bowl, I do not want to believe that what the people are saying is true because the story is conflicting, we know what the government is up to and nobody should use New Kru Town to make people to believe that Ebola is here. I'm selling in front of Redemption and interacting with people everyday so we are not afraid because we know this is a makeup story, look my brother the only thing that is happening nurses are not in the hospital and they are refusing patients."

Kebeh Tokpah-a Roasted Cassava Seller

"I heard that the Ebola patients died so I was just selling my market I just see some nurse them they were going and they not come back so from Saturday the people not work, I do not know the family[died of Ebola], I do not know about what they are saying and the Ebola is not spoiling my business.

I'm selling here and patients can come and died I can sit right here and see them, from Saturday morning the other news I'm hearing is making me scared, I do not know the nurse that died until I see her picture because all of them can come here and buy food from me, yesterday this place was upside down, they send some of the patients home and they were buying from me and even the student were buying from me, the four people I do not know them I will not lie to you."

Jugbeh Teah - Corn seller

"This Ebola I only heard it from the hospital, they say Ebola here but we that here we get no idea on it, I do not know the people that died, the Ebola news is not affecting my business, people are buying, the nurse too I do not know her I just heard the news on Saturday, I'm not afraid because I know that Ebola is not in New Kru town here so I'm not afraid. The people that saying it maybe they do not trust themselves, I do not believe that Ebola is here, they who talking about it may be they are seeing the people who are dying from Ebola."

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