The spreading of Ebola virus in Sierra Leone

October 23, 2014

We are in daily communication with Sullay Turay, our lead representative on the ground in Bauya, Sierra Leone. The following is Sullay’s personal documentation of how Ebola is continuing to spread in his country.

Several factors are responsible for the spreading of the Ebola diseases virus in my country, Sierra Leone. These factors are attributed to traditional/cultural belief, religious belief, denial and economic reasons.

In a village in Port Loko district, the villagers allege that the dead are coming from the graveyard to flog/beat and scare them. After several occurrences, the villagers went to the graveyard where these Ebola dead were buried. They dug these graves and removed the bodies from the body bags and burned them. They said these people were witches and wizards that crashed with their witch aircraft/airplane, so that is why they died, not of Ebola. But after several days, many more people got infected with the Ebola and died. The whole village is quarantine. Uptill now people are still dying from that village.

In Bo district, a religious leader imam got infected with Ebola virus diseases and died. The people washed that dead imam body and rubbed/applied the water on the faces of the children in the village, the reasons being that they believe it a blessing to wash your face with a great imam body water, and they also claim that when you wash your face with that dead imam water, you will be like that great religious leader in wisdom. After that single act, many people and children got infected with the Ebola virus disease and died.

People are moving into quarantine homes because of the adequate foodstuffs provided for these homes to eat, and they eventually rub skin with these people in these quarantine homes, so they spread the virus.

People still believe and respect the washing and burial of their dead ones. So some medical workers were bribed to give fake medical reports that the dead was not died of Ebola diseases, for them to be given burial certificate that this person died of other illness, not Ebola virus. They will go about to wash and bury the body, after few days some family members and neighbours will start to fell ill and died of Ebola diseases.

Business people again are parts of the spreading of the Ebola virus, because they want to maximize profits. They will move into quarantine district/area to do trading, and they will eventually move to another area and spread the virus.

And again, there is this rumors spreading that people are putting white chemical (poison) into water well in the rural areas for people to drink and get the Ebola virus. But the police deny that, there is no evidence to prove that, but all this is done in the guise to deny that there is the Ebola virus disease.

Even though the government is sensitizing [educating] the population, people are still not adhere to the message and continue to spread the Ebola virus disease.

Submitted by Sullay Osman Turay