The sooner you go to the treatment centre the better chance you have of surviving

Tulip Mazumdar reports on the Ebola crisis in Guinea for the BBC.

This is the final resting place of the latest victim of Ebola: a four-month-old baby boy called Faya.

He caught the virus from his mother, who died a few weeks earlier.

His is the 20th anonymous grave in this dark and lonely clearing.

“I was there with him just before he died,” says Adele Millimouno, a Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) nurse recruited from a nearby village.

“I had been feeding him milk. I stepped away, just for a short break, but then I was called back and he was dead. I was totally devastated.”

There is confusion and fear, and sometimes resistance to health workers.

Tarik Jasarevic, from the World Health Organization, says unclear messages from health workers about the virus at the start of the outbreak is partly to blame for villages closing their doors.

“People heard there is no vaccine or treatment for Ebola so many thought ‘why would we go to a treatment centre if there is no treatment?’

“Then people who did eventually go, some of them died. So there was a perception that if you are taken from your village it means a certain death.

“We didn’t put enough emphasis on the fact there are survivors and the sooner you go to the treatment centre the better chance you have of surviving, and you are not risking the health of your family. Because those taking care of sick people are exposed the most.”

Go to the treatment centre.


  1. quixote says

    Report on the BBC today about voices from the Ebola epicenter. One is an anthropologist. The health care authorities have realized they didn’t handle the communication too well, and have hired local anthropologists to go to villages first and explain the situation. Then the health care workers come in. According to the report, it’s resulted in a 180° turn. The informed villages now call in the health workers.

    It’d be nice if authorities generally learned that fast.

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