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Ebola Survivors Share Experience, Combat Stigma

Nina de Vries | Voice of America   in 
October 21, 2014

KENEMA, SIERRA LEONE—As the Ebola outbreak continues to spread, there is some hope from those who survive it.

In Kenema, in eastern Sierra Leone, a survivor conference was held for the first time. The goal was to counsel survivors and look at ways they can increase awareness about the disease.

Music blared through a small church as 36 Ebola survivors danced to celebrate the fact that they have beaten the deadly virus, for which there is no vaccine.

The survivor conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Counsel and teach

The ministry and various non-governmental organizations want to encourage the survivors to counsel other Ebola patients and teach people in their communities more about Ebola and prevention.

Matthew Dalling, UNICEF chief of child protection, said survivors often face a social stigma.

“They go back into communities and they are ostracized, and are told to leave. One or two survivors I met are renting [homes] in Kenema city because they cannot go back to their rural villages,” Dalling said.

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