GUECKEDOU, 28 April 2015 (IRIN) – Forty-six-year-old Maurice Ouendeno stares silently at the arm of his blue plastic lawn chair. He waits a few minutes before beginning his story. “They said we did not have the right to bury him,” he says, finally looking up. Sadness, mixed with a bit of anger, flashes briefly across his face. “We understood why, but it was painful. It was so painful not to be able to give him the send-off he deserved.” His father, Tamba Lamine Ouendeno, died Continue reading →
In a recent interesting contribution to this platform, Paul Richards rightly questioned the mainstream perception that funerals per se are source of contamination in countries affected by ebola. The author argues that funerals are phenomena which are extremely interrelated to other different aspects of social life, like the overall care of sickness, the concept of authority, and the logic of parenthood. Yet, his brief paper has another value: by stressing the complexity of this social phenomenon, it tunes down the journalistic emphasis that in past Continue reading →
Bawuya is a small, isolated Kpa-Mende farming village about 3 hours walking time from Taiama, headquarters of Kori chiefdom in Moyamba District, Southern Sierra Leone. Bawuya experienced an Ebola outbreak in September 2014, in which 9 people died and 3 infected persons survived, connected to a prior outbreak in a neighboring village, Fogbo. No further cases have since occurred. Bawuya serves as a representative example of how an isolated rural community becomes infected, and how such outbreaks end, where outside intervention or assistance is limited. Continue reading →
This working paper reports on a study to identify epidemic control priorities among 15 communities in Monrovia and Montserrado County, Liberia. Data were collected in September 2014 on the following topics: prevention, surveillance, care-giving, community-based treatment and support, networking/hotlines/calling response teams and referrals, management of corpses, quarantine and isolation, orphans, memorialization, and the need for community-based training and education. The study also reviewed issues of fear and stigma towards Ebola victims and survivors, and support for those who have been affected by Ebola. The findings Continue reading →
Funeral practices in Freetown are varied with differences between typical Muslim and Christian practices. Muslims typically bury the body the same day, or the day after, the death, whereas Christians might wait for up to several weeks while arrangements are made. Muslims normally bury bodies in a shroud, whereas Christians use a coffin. The bodies are typically prepared for burial (washed) by family members. This background paper gives more information on care and burial practices in Urban Sierra Leone.