We’re Sillah and Fanday, health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone with Save the Children. We have lived here all our lives and understand the challenges faced by a country in need of a much stronger healthcare system. Today we’re here to answer your questions on accessible healthcare and our experiences fighting Ebola – AMA!

Here is a link to Save the Children's Twitter feed and tweet about this AMA.

All responses are from Sillah and Fanday, and do not necessarily represent the views held by Save the Children.

UPDATE: Thank you for all your questions. We're signing off now, but will be back again later.

Feeling inspired to ensure every child has access to healthcare? Find out what you can do to help.

Comments: 52 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

ScarfDemon6 karma

How has the outbreak affected communities/ culture and the way people carry on their daily lives?

SavetheChildrenUK8 karma

Our economy came to a standstill. No schools, no social gatherings, particularly watching the premiership games in public cinemas! It particular it affected our cultural traditions of taking care of the dead - normally when somebody is sick we expect relatives to be the first care givers and when a relative dies we have to treat that person as if he or she is alive - hugging them, crying with them, but with Ebola it mustn't happen.

xturtlezzzz2 karma

will it go back to normal soon?

SavetheChildrenUK8 karma

We are treading back to normalcy - even though we haven't 100% beaten Ebola yet, schools will reopen this month, we just have to watch out, especially for the children in Kindergarten schools.

kashnaik5 karma

What do you think of the international response to the ebola crisis?

SavetheChildrenUK7 karma

The response sadly came late. But it wasn't for nothing - it has had a good impact and it's changed our thinking. If the international community had put money in sooner - in particular for water and sanitation hygiene, the virus would not have spread as it did in our country

SavetheChildrenUK1 karma

The response sadly came late. But it wasn't for nothing - it has had a good impact and it's changed our thinking. If the international community had put money in sooner - in particular for water and sanitation hygiene, the virus would not have spread as it did in our country

thecatwho4 karma

There was talk months ago about a vaccine or cure for ebola being developed, but I largely feel this was just a ploy to calm Americans when the disease traveled here. Do you happen to know of any real and lasting efforts to prevent an outbreak of this magnitude from happening again?

SavetheChildrenUK8 karma

In order to stop an outbreak like this happening again, the international community need to support healthcare systems. There are more than 25 countries who have worse healthcare systems than we did and are therefore very vulnerable. Money needs to go in to these countries BEFORE the outbreak happens. We need to make sure that every child has access to healthcare.

Sweetmilk_4 karma

Can you describe the process of treating someone who may have ebola?

SavetheChildrenUK3 karma

In treating a person with Ebola we have to pay more attention in preventing contraction of the disease from the person. That is first - secondly, we have to prevent cross contamination that a person with Ebola does not pass it to a person who is just a suspect and might not have it. Then, we strengthen the person and try to boost their morale. This is then followed by clinical treatment.

roosterpie993 karma

do you ever get annoyed that everyone only asks about how ebola affects america?

SavetheChildrenUK9 karma

No - for us, Ebola very much affects Sierra Leone and we haven't experienced people asking about how it only affects America ! It doesn't really matter. We all have the same right to protect our citizens. If you don't want Ebola in your country, it's good to fight against it.

equiNine3 karma

How did you find your calling in life and enter your line of work?

SavetheChildrenUK5 karma

Fanday: Because I want to help people, especially people who have been affected by Ebola - To help the country and to help donors fight against the sickness.

Sillah: I've got kids and that's the posterity for Sierra Leone - I did it for the children.

equiNine1 karma

Thank you both for your selfless devotion to some of the most marginalized and forgotten people in this large world.

SavetheChildrenUK1 karma

We are not forgotten. It is just because people prioritise things. It makes us feel good that you reply to us and we feel we are just one big family. After all, in the ETC, we all go into the red zone - Sierra Leoneons, as well as international staff. We all put our lives at risk.

Frajer2 karma

are you scared you'll catch it ?

SavetheChildrenUK20 karma

No. I'm not scared - on the contrary Ebola is scared of me !!

ScarfDemon1 karma

Aside from Ebola, there must be other patients with different, separate health issues. How do you prioritise patients, and prevent non-Ebola patients from contracting the virus? Are there separate facilities?

SavetheChildrenUK1 karma

Here, we are an Ebola Treatment Centre. There are other more general facilities but they are struggling as so many Sierra Leoneon healthcare workers have been affected by the virus.

yjeffery1 karma

What are the key things that you want to happen to make the health system in Sierra Leone strong?

SavetheChildrenUK3 karma

First, should be effective sensitisation in relation to good hygiene and clean water. We also need the strengthening of our medical facilities in all areas of our communities so that at least each child could have access to medical facilities within a radius of at least 5km so that no child dies of non-fatal illnesses. For example malaria is easy to treat if children can treatment quickly enough - even cholera. Sometimes people die of cholera when they didn't need to.

xturtlezzzz1 karma

how do you stop the ebola going to other countrys like england??

SavetheChildrenUK3 karma

If England had Ebola they wouldn't have spent tax-payers money fighting it here in Sierra Leone. I would not want even my worst enemy to have Ebola in his household not to mention nations that are helping our country. When people fly out of my country, they are testing for symptoms of Ebola and again when they land in countries like England. Lots of measures have been put in place to prevent the virus spreading internationally.

yjeffery1 karma

Are there long-terms effects on health for survivors of Ebola? Is there any support available to help them?

SavetheChildrenUK1 karma

We have many survivors in our teams and some of them are the best workers we have. Now, there is support but in the long term, there is nothing unless the international community invests in healthcare.

pleasedontwearthat1 karma

what more could be done for those at risk of contracting ebola, in Sierra Leone, and in general? thanks for taking the time!

SavetheChildrenUK3 karma

Taking the time is our pleasure. I believe there should be water and sanitation staff or volunteers in every village to respond to any emergency relating to infectious diseases such as Ebola, Malaria, Cholera ....