23 August 2014

Liberia: Mom-Dad Ebola Death - Orphans in Quarantined Liberian Town Unsure

Dolo's Town, Margibi County — Joshua David, 6, and Moses Samuel, 13, are orphans as a result of the death of their parents who were suspected of dying from the deadly Ebola. But despite the manner in which their parents died, the boys are yet to be convinced that it was because of Ebola.

The boys' denial highlights the continued challenges health authorities in not only Liberia but neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone face amid deep mistrust in communities swirling in rumors and speculations the virus spread is a hoax.

This was clearly evident last week when residents in West Point reportedly broke their way into a quarantine center and let some 17 patients lose.

Residents challenged security authorities as they rejected the creation of a quarantine center, set up by health authorities in a part of the capital seen as an epicentre of the Ebola outbreak.

The situation took a violent turn as angry young men hurled rocks and stormed barbed-wire barricades, trying to break out. Their stand was resisted by soldiers who repelled the surging crowd with live rounds, driving back hundreds of young men.

Pair Tried to Leave, Caught

At least one young man, Shakie Kamara, 15, was injured and later died of massive bleeding. There has been controversy over his death. The government claims it was a result of the barbed wire in the area while residents insists he shot by live ammunitions from the soldiers.

Both West Point and Dolo's Town were quarantined after the mele.

In Dolo's Two, Saturday, the two young orphans were turned over to the Dolo's Town Health Center which is currently being used as an isolation center in the area by the Community Emergency Ebola Taskforce. The pair were trying to leave the vicinity of the area when they were picked up and taken to the quarantine center.

A nurse at the hospital told our reporter that both parents of the two boys died a week ago in the Smell-No-Taste Community in Margibi County.

Residents Sure it was Ebola, Boys Flee

The nurse says she gathered that the mother of the boys moved moved into the Dolo's Town Community following the death of her husband, but that she also fell sick shortly after.

"We were told here at the facility that their mother just passed off and the body is in the house in Dolo's Town. All other residents in the house left, ran away and only two of them were there. So the older one decided to runaway and go to Small-No-Taste Community before they were picked up and brought in at the quarantine center, the nurse explained.

The nurse also said the facility's lab technician was sent to collect a sample of the woman specimen for testing to know the cause of death.

Narrating their ordeal, little Joshua and Moses said they were brought to Dolo's Town by their late mother following the death of their father a week ago in Smell-No-Taste Community to stay with their elder sister.

But after days in the Dolo's Town area, their mother got sick and died on Friday.

Asked whether they knew the cause of death of their mother and Father, the children ruled out any possibility that Ebola was a factor. "They poison something, food and give to him, that's what he ate and died," little Moses said justifying the cause of death of their father.

The orphans say following the death of their father, they were brought to Dolo's Town by their mother as people in the area (Smell No- Taste) were accusing their mother of having Ebola since she had been caring heir late father prior to his death.

Looking very calm at the isolation center where they are being observed, Joshua and Moses said their mother passed off following weeks of illness.

Ebola Death Yet to be Proven

They also said residents of Dolo's Town are assuming that their mother died because she had Ebola something that is yet to be proven. "We were in Smell-No-Taste Community, we moved from there to Dolo's Town because the people said she was having Ebola; that how she was there and the people in Dolo's town were asking around for sick people; that how they say you get sick people here and that how the people bring the car and told my mom to walk and my mom said she cannot walk, that how they left there. We came outside the house and when we went inside the house again that how we see our mom lying down, that's how we shake here, shake her and she never answer ," the orphans narrated.

Little Joshua and Moses brings to four the number of persons at the Isolation Center in Dolo's Town. Already as of Friday two suspected persons were quarantined and were awaiting transfer and testing for the deadly Ebola virus because they were ill and showing signs of the virus.

One of the suspected patients, a male was seeing leaving from in his isolation bed in a room and walking out of the center and later vomited at the back of the health center.

Our reporter also observed that no disinfectant was made at the back of the makeshift quarantine center or even in the path the suspected patient used to exit and enter the facility.

Facility Low on PPE's

When asked if the facility was equipped with sufficient Personal Protective Equipment PPE, the two health workers at the isolation center said, they were very low in stock of PPEs.

Dolo's Town is one of the isolation centers quarantine by the Liberian government due to the spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country.

Currently community dwellers are voluntarily coming out for testing and are working with a 25-member Emergency Response Task Force educating the public on the importance of reporting Ebola suspects and coming out early for testing.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ebola virus has claimed the lives of some 1,427 people since the disease was identified in Guinea in March and spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The current outbreak is the worst in history with around 2,615 people being infected with the disease.


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