It was quiet now for some time, both in my blog as well as in Sierra Leone. The new infections went down and further down, we had days in a row without any new cases and it seemed to be only a small step towards an Ebola-free Sierra Leone.
But recently the pictures changed again. Below are the contacts followed as of 6th July, published by WHO. “No of contacts” means people who had been in direct contact with a confirmed positive Ebola case and who are quarantined as a consequence of that. WARD 374 refers to the area also known as “Magazin Wharf”, a slum area in coastal Freetown. While on Friday there was a total of 14 cases linked to Magazin Wharf, the weekend brought about another 5! One of them even with an unknown epi-link (at least that was the status yesterday).
Most of those new cases are connected to one asymptomatic case of a pregnant woman who delivered in hospital without knowing that she is Ebola positive. The immune system of pregnant women is basically running on very low intensity during pregnancy to prevent that the body is “rejecting” the child. This – as turned out now – can “hide” Ebola. Fever and vomiting are reactions of the immune system that is trying to fight the virus. If this is not happening, there is no fever. Ebola was detected only after the delivery. Subsequently, more than 400 people entered quarantine in Magazine Wharf.
Julia arbeitet für die Welthungerhilfe im Projektmanagement in Sierra Leone. Sie beschreibt in diesem Blog ihre persönlichen Eindrücke. Ihre Meinung muss sich nicht mit der der Welthungerhilfe decken. Bevor Julia nach Sierra Leone kam war sie in Nord Korea im Einsatz. Sie schreibt auch Artikel für den offiziellen Blog der Welthungerhilfe
Last weeks‘ Friday I stumbled upon the cover of the Standard Times – a local newspaper from Sierra Leone. It read: „Teenage pregnancy ruins Port Loko district“. In the first glimps I thought this was not related to the Ebola outbreak, but then to my surprise I read the following lines:
It is a truism that the outbreak of the Ebola pestilence in the country has not only ravaged the socio-economic fabric, nook and cranny of our settlements, but it has also left a host of the population of the girl child in the rural communities in a fit of child rights abuses and violations and as a result 80% of those children that are holidaying in the Ebola menace are presently been affected with teenage pregnancy whilst a greater % of them are in the family way.
If you read further you will find that almost all girls of the village have been victims of sexual abuse by the inhabitants. This happened partly with the consent of their parents which are in need of help by the perpetrators (farmers, traders, colleagues,…) in order to work on the fields. According to the article, education of the girls is not highly appreciated by their parents who are trying to bring workers inside the family by offering their daughters.
I am honestly shocked by this article. I have been wondering for a long time how big the socioeconomic consequences of the Ebola outbreak would be since over the last months schools and universities are closed down. But it never came to my mind that a virus like Ebola would lead to a rapid increase in child abuse. All kids have to stay at home nowadays. They have no occupation. Parents and relatives have to continue to make a living. So, often the kids are without protection. At least, over the last couple of weeks, there was a educational radio station created.
One thing is very obvious to me. The Ebola outbreak will have severe long term consequences for Liberia and Sierra Leone. I think no one can currently foresee how deeply the countries will be affected in the long-run. My organization has already released a report about the non-medical impacts of the Ebola outbreak which mainly focuses on economical topics like food supply. The large scale of the social impacts can in my opinion currently not be predicted, but should not be forgotten.
Rene ist PhD Student und blogger. Er setzt sich fuer freies Wissen und freie Bildung ein. Dadurch ist er auf wikiversity, wikimedia commons und gelegentlich auf der Wikipedia aktiv. Er unterstuetzt Julia ihre Erfahrungen aus Sierra Leone zu verbreiten.