Published: Thursday, 18 February 2016 08:42

Health Network Sierra Leone, a civil society advocacy network on health, human rights, security and corporate governance issues is planning to organise a post-Ebola recovery interactive session with survivors on 12 March at the Kent Beach.

The theme of the session is, “Building confidence in the healthcare delivery service in Sierra Leone”, according to Health Network Executive Director, Robert Kondema Kargbo.

He said the session would provide an opportunity for Ebola survivors, health practitioners and members of the public to interact, as a major strategy in restoring confidence in survivors and discouraging stigmatisation.

Ebola survivors are grappling with many challenges even after they have been certified free of the virus. A survivors’ association has been formed, which gives members some impetus to end stigmatisation. But serious challenges still remain.

“The task of reconstruction is massive. The amount of healthcare available was minute and some of the heaviest losses were among doctors and nurses. Livelihoods need rebuilding, and there is still a huge amount of awareness-raising to be done in terms of the acceptance of survivors,” said Kargbo.

He added: “Our culture has changed. People are wary of each other. When you have the Ebola virus within yourself, you feel so sad. You feel everything is wrong with you. You feel you have no hope. There is no need for you to survive – that is how you feel. But people did survive, that is the reason Health Network in collaboration with partners has decided to come up with a strategy so that we can once again welcome our brothers and sisters in our respective communities.”

He said rationale for the event was to create an inclusive society and restore the dignity of Ebola survivors.

Kargbo said proceeds from the get-together would be used to support 20 Ebola survivors in the Western Rural as part of the organisation’s commitment in supporting government and other partners in the post-Ebola recovery plan.

“Health Network has been integral in the fight against the Ebola virus disease since it broke out in the country in May 2014, and it is our hope to continue in promoting the wellbeing of our people,” he concluded.

By Mohamed Massaquoi