Liberian nurse Sedia Marwolo was 32 weeks pregnant when medics arrived at her home and hauled her away to a special coronavirus hospital , which she likened to “ hell” .
It was the beginning of a 15-day ordeal during which the 38- year – old cried almost daily and was crippled with fear over whether her baby would survive her COVID – 19 infection.
Marwolo ’ s bosses sent her home in early May — without giving her a reason — although colleagues later told her that her immediate supervisor had tested positive for coronavirus .
Five days after taking it upon herself to take a test , medical staff in protective gear were waiting for Marwolo at her house , while her neighbours watched her be taken away .
In a nightmare for an expecting mother , Marwolo was separated from her family and taken to a coronavirus intensive care unit in a military hospital east of the capital Monrovia .
“ I was like in hell, alone , and abandoned , ” she said .
“To be pregnant and find yourself in a coronavirus ICU is terrible ” .
Liberia has recorded some 250 cases to date , with 24 fatalities — a low number compared with virus – stricken Europe and the United States .
But as with other poor countries in the region, there are fears that Liberia is ill-equipped to handle a large outbreak .
The nation of some 4 . 8 million people was already badly hit during West Africa ’ s 2014 – 16 Ebola crisis, which killed more than 4 , 800 people in Liberia .
Inside the military hospital , Marwolo did not eat for two days out of fear. “ I noticed that my baby was no longer moving in my stomach , ” she said .
But she found a friend and ally in Harriette Mondaye, a midwife employed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA ), who counsels pregnant coronavirus patients.
“ It was a difficult moment , ” Mondaye said , adding that the infected nurse cried every time they spoke on the phone .
There are concerns that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable in the coronavirus crisis.
During the Ebola crisis in Liberia , wary hospitals sometimes refused to take in any patients, leaving some pregnant women to give birth in the street .
To avoid this scenario playing out again , the UNFPA is providing maternity advice in Liberia ’ s coronavirus hospital , Mondaye said .
Marwolo eventually began to eat again , and was discharged from the coronavirus hospital after 15 days , having recovered.
She then gave birth to baby girl , who did not contract the virus .
But after surviving the ordeal , Marwolo and her family now face the stigma of having had a brush with COVID – 19.
Her husband and one of her three children also contracted the disease , and recovered , making the family near -pariahs in her neighbourhood .
“ The stigmatisation is another hell for any victim of this virus to go through, ” she said .
“ It is like a curse. We are even planning to leave the community. ”
Marwolo credits her recovery to help from Mondaye, and wants to undertake further studies in order to counsel people in similar positions of distress .
“ She encouraged me , she gave me hope, ” Marwolo said .
Share your story with us:sms-+2348107564051, WhatsApp – +2348055459181 – Email – email@example.com
Remember:Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Advertise with us. Send us enquiries , press release.
You can also visit our YouTube channel/YouTube.com/LOUDSPEAKER4NAIJA TV