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A Death and a Birth

We  were very sad last month to learn about the sudden death of one of the 30 Ebola orphans whom the Waterloo Partnership has been supporting in the wake of the epidemic. The child who died was just one year old. Little Fatmata Sesay, who had already lost her family to Ebola, ‘just developed a fever overnight and died early in the morning’, Chair of the Waterloo Partnership, Sierra Leone, Mr Alieu Mansaray told us. ‘She was buried by the Red Crross team at Jopoh Farm cemetery, where everyone, even from Freetown, are currently being buried. We extended your condolences to the lady caregiver. Whenever we deliver food supplies she will start crying, as she remembers Fatmata’.

Fortunately Fatmata did not die from Ebola. However her death reminds us of the high mortality rate for children under five in Sierra Leone, where high quality emergency care is not accessible to most of the population.

Within a few days of little Fatmata’s death, Alieu Mansaray sent us some joyful news of an unexpected birth!

Waterloo has fortunately been Ebola-free since the end of March, apart from two related cases in mid-April, in Kandeh Turay Street, when 23 households were quarantined. Nearly 80 people were involved, including babies, nursing mothers and pregnant women, and over 20 young children. On 11th May Alieu wrote: ‘The quarantine ends today in Kandeh Turay Street. Adama Bangura gave birth to a bouncing girl while in quarantine. She has been named “Joyce” by one of the WHO personnel’. While it is difficult for us to imagine what it must be like to give birth at home in quarantined isolation, with very basic facilities, we must be thankful for the safe arrival of baby Joyce.