Monrovia — It's been nearly a week since Doris Prowd went underground. The mother of four, upon learning that she had tested positive for the deadly Coronavirus knew all too well the stigma that came along with something like this. Like Deja vu, the feelings of 2014 deadly Ebola virus outbreak was seemingly staring her in the face.
"I know what people went through during Ebola; I know the fear of what happened during Ebola - and so I panicked, I got scared and ran away. I left my husband and four children and went to my family in Caldwell - because I did not want to be stigmatized," Prowd told FrontPageAfrica Tuesday via phone, hours after she had surrender herself to health authorities.
Prowd's case heralds what many see as a growing fear of stigmatization contributing to more and more people fearing testing for the Coronavirus, which has to date infected 59 persons and killed six.
Prowd, who works as a chef in the canteen at the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation as a chef, says she had a feeling something was wrong. "I began feeling chills and symptoms of malaria and so I informed my boss that I wasn't feeling well."
Prowd says she was sent to the Elbert Laboratory where she was given several tests. "My entire body was in pain, it felt like I had malaria. So, when I got to the lab they did all kinds of tests on me - cholera, malaria, typhoid, everything - and then they said they would send my samples for the Coronavirus - just to be sure."
Prowd says the lab informed authorities at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center who dispatched testers to test her for Corona.
"I did not get the results the same day - for Corona. They told me I had one plus malaria and give me some medications to take. "They said my cholesterol was high and they gave me prescription to buy medicine. They told me the Coronavirus result did not come but promised to call me when it did come in."
When the results finally came, it brought some painful memories and shock for Prowd. Prowd explained that she received a call from her boss that the laboratory had notified her that her test came back positive. "Boss lady called and said, 'you positive'. "I was in shock, I didn't know what to say - I didn't know what to do - In that moment, it felt like Ebola - all over again."
Since Prowd tested positive, NAASCORP has shut down its canteen. Both Elbert Laboratory and the recently completed Jahmale labs have also been shut down to the public after positive tests, especially at Jahmale.
Asked if she remembers how she may have been infected, Prowd is still baffled, uncertain and unsure. "I don't know, I don't remember touching anyone, I didn't go to any public gathering. I don't know... . I don't know."
Asked why she finally decided to come out of her hideout, Prowd says, a lot of people encouraged her and told her to go and get treated. "People started talking to me, telling me to stay strong and that's how I muster the courage to inform my family that I wanted to go and get treatment.
Prowd had agreed to turn herself in on Monday but after waiting several hours, the ambulance did not show up and another schedule was arranged for her to be picked up on Tuesday.
As fearful as the images has been of the virus around the world, Prowd appeared to be in good spirits on Tuesday. "I'm not coughing, not sneezing. 'I'm in good spirit. I have been taking the medications the doctors give me for malaria and that's how I have been managing."
Now quarantined at a hotel off the Robertsfield Highway, Prowd was glad to be back with her family. Sadly, three of four of them, including her husband, have tested positive for the virus. Her infant, is the only want who's test came back negative.
"I'm thankful to God that I can reunite with my family. The past week has not been easy. I give glory to God."
With fears and stigma now behind her, Prowd is encouraging others to do the same, to muster the courage and not feel stigmatized. In the same vein she says, communities should not stigmatize anyone who comes down with the virus. "It's better to go through the test. It's not harmful; they don't do anything bad to anybody; if you positive they will treat you - the sooner the better."