By Radar

SMS reporting during the crisis

Moses Fallah James, 26, Koindu

Moses is a student in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown. He grew up on the border with Guinea in Koindu – an early epicentre of the Ebola outbreak. Since 2012, Moses has been reporting on various issues; writing stories about trade restrictions, community solidarity and the quarantine over the Christmas period in 2014.

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During the Ebola crisis, many regions in Sierra Leone struggled to obtain the basic necessities required to survive, including food. Moses Kortu, who lives on the country’s eastern border with Guinea and Liberia, documented his family’s struggle in the face of dwindling government food provision, harsh trading restrictions, and the arrival of seasonal rains.

At the time, many families were confined to their homes for days at a time, having to ration their meagre provisions with no certainty of when they would next obtain food. As well as these daily problems, Moses has reported on life at the borders, where strict quarantines bred a ‘psychology of fear’ around Ebola.

To read Moses’ real time reporting during the outbreak click here

 


 


Sixty Kamara, 55, Makeni

Sixty is a dedicated disability rights activist living in the Magbenteh polio camp. He’s also a French teacher and the secretary general of the Polio Persons’ Development Association, Makeni.

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Just before the New Year in 2015, On Our Radar received reports that a number of health workers had died from Ebola at the Government hospital in Makeni, where Sixty Kamara lives and reports from.

Sixty is a Radar reporter and a Polio survivor. Whilst reporting, he explained his fears for a severely disabled newborn at the Polio camp in Makeni. Fortunately the child and its mother survived despite the shortage of nurses and medical resources. Sixty’s reporting was often focussed on the plight of Sierra Leone’s disabled during the Ebola crisis.

To read Sixty’s real-time reporting during the outbreak click here.



 

Elizabeth Katta, 29, Bo

Elizabeth is a women’s and disability rights activist. She takes care of several children, including her nephew, while supporting young girls in the community to recover from obstetric fistula.

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The trauma of Ebola was heightened by the safety precautions implemented during the crisis that prevented family members from touching and washing the bodies of their loved ones before burial. Workers in garish personal protective equipment (PPE) were seen as alien, and they came to represent the invasive and jarring spectre of Ebola.

Since the crisis, burial workers have been left psychologically scarred, as Elizabeth explains here. With with an incapacitated health system, the future for those suffering from these mental health afflictions is uncertain. Fortunately, however, testimony from Elizabeth and other Radar reporters shows that crucial health messages about sanitation and safe practices have begun to sink in.

To read Elizabeth’s real-time reporting during the outbreak click here

 



 

Mariama Jalloh, 25, Makeni

Mariama, a student from Northern Sierra Leone, lost 27 members of her family to Ebola. During the outbreak she reported issues surrounding isolation and the double burden of being a disabled woman with polio during a time of extraordinary crisis.

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In Sierra Leone, nearly 70% of the disabled population of working age have no steady income, meaning that they depend on family members for support. After Ebola wracked the country’s economy and crippled its healthcare system, the burden on the disabled gravely increased.

As a Radar reporter and a disabled person, Mariama Jalloh has been raising the voices of the most disadvantaged people affected by Ebola. She broke stories of food shortages, the daily psychological turmoil that Ebola generated, and the economic impacts on Koinadugu district.

To read Mariama’s real time reporting during the outbreak click here.


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