A 7 year old boy identified as Vandy Jawad, is a reminder of hope and survival in an otherwise deeply tragic situation. He was in the treatment centre at Kenema for more than one month after contracting the virus in Daru village about 40 km out of Kenema town, and one of the worst affected communities in Sierra Leone.
According to nurses, he displayed some very serious symptoms when first admitted, “That small boy was very, very sick. We did not think he would survive as so many haven’t,” said Sister Nancy Yoko, the nurse in charge of the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kenema.
Vandy started showing signs of recovery a couple of weeks ago slowly gathering his strength. When he finally achieved a negative test result, which revealed there was no more Ebola virus in his system, it was time for him to go home.
“Little Vandy provided laughter at the most unlikely moments inside that ward, I’m so happy for his recovery, “commented a British volunteer nurse who treated him inside the centre.
Before patients leave the ward, they are presented with transport money to get home (about US$10), a clean set of clothes, and a certificate declaring that they are healthy and no longer have Ebola. He was photographed and congratulated by staff, and in humble way, celebrated for his resilience.
Vandy was also given a small plastic truck and showed it off to all the nurses before he left the restricted compound area with an enormous grin on his face. “It’s nice for the children to have a toy before they go, it makes them happy, look at Vandy,” said Sister Nancy.