More than a year after the Ebola outbreak that left about 4,000 Liberians dead, survivors here are said to be experiencing series of health complications, including severe body pains, visual problems, impotency, miscarriage and still birth, among others.
Some 3,000 Ebola survivors, including women and children have been documented across the country since the disease was defeated last year. The Principal Investigator for the Ebola Natural History Study at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Masoka Fallah, said due to health complications, some survivors have begun to lose their jobs.
Briefing reporters Tuesday, 22 September at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, he said to establish a trend of these health problems survivors are faced with, an historical study was launched on June 17, 2015 at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia.
The study is being conducted by the Liberia-United States Joint Clinical Research Partnership or PREVAIL. Dr. Fallah added that thru appeal by former Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, the National Institute of Health has been helping the Liberian government in conducting the study, which will last for five years to establish causes for the complications and find solutions.
He said the Ministry of Health will have to survey the entire population to find out whether these sicknesses are common among Liberians, including close contacts or relatives of Ebola survivors. Therefore, a month ago, the ministry brought an eye specialist to examine eyes of survivors’, targeting about 1,500 of them.
Dr. Fallah disclosed that a total of 743 persons have enrolled in the study, among them 415 females and 328 males with 663 survivors. The Principal Investigator said the Health Ministry is working along with the Ebola Survivors Network to engage in social mobilization to encourage more survivors into the study, while stressing, “We need to attack the problems the survivors are faced with before it becomes serious problem.”
For her part, the director for operation at the National Institute of Health based in the United States, Dr. Laura McNay, described the one year partnership with the Ministry of Health as great, adding that they were able to train many Liberians in clinical research. The World Health Organization – WHO, has declared Liberia Ebola-freed and formally certificated the country twice.
By Ethel A. Tweh – Edited by Jonathan Browne