Fostering Ties Between Survivors And Communities

Monday, December 7, 2015
Sandra Tumwesigye

Over the past six months, the IOM psychosocial team in Grand Bassa were offering support to Mathaline, a pregnant Ebola survivor facing discrimination and unsure of the outcome of her pregnancy. Today, she is the healthy mother of a 1 week old daughter and is working with the team towards smoother reintegration into her community.

“When we met her, she told us her landlady and neighbours were stigmatizing her and threatening her life because they thought she was a witch”, Mathew Bryant the IOM Grand Bassa PSS Assistant explains. Mathaline lost her first husband to Ebola after which she was rejected by their family in Monrovia and moved back to her village. While in the village, she remarried a man who eventually died from an unknown cause. She was expelled from the village and moved to Buchanan where she was receiving food from BRAC and was introduced to IOM.

Matthew during a recent visit do Mathaline and her baby

Mathew explains, “We tried to address the myths surrounding Ebola survivors by educating the landlady and others. We then decided to form a joint team including the County PSS staff and Concern. Together, we probed further in order to change attitudes”. This was followed by regular visits from the IOM PSS team, offering counselling and emotional support to Mathaline in addition to educating her landlady and community members.  In response, she says, “thank you for always coming to talk to me. If it was not for you, I would die from too much worrying”

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