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A woman identified as Henrietta Cerley says even though she believes that the Ebola virus exists but the mysterious death of five members of her family was a result of poison and not Ebola.
“I lost my mother, my brother, sister, sister-in-law and my grandson….it wasn’t Ebola, it was poison but everybody considered it to be Ebola…” Henrietta alleged.
The five persons reportedly died in the same house with Henrietta and other family members in Monrovia.
Henrietta said following their death, she was quarantined along with the other children in the home by authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with no food and water.
She said had it not been for the help of community members, they would have starved to death.
Henrietta said since the death of her family members she and the surviving children are being stigmatized by relatives, friends and other community members.
The Ebola virus spreads through contact with an infected person, body fluids or the dead body of an infected person or animal. The virus kills up to 90% of its victims and has killed over 2,000 people in Liberia since its outbreak.
An entire town in Margibi County was nearly wiped away when residents initially blamed the death of over 20 people to food poisoning.
Like Henrietta, many people in Liberia continue to blame the death of their family members to either witchcraft or poison. The home of Henrietta was amongst 68,000 houses in 173 communities in Monrovia, traced and quarantined through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported Community Based Initiative (CBI) with the Ministry of Health.
CBI Consultant Dr. Mosoka Fallah said the initiative has afforded community members the opportunity to participate and own the quarantine processes in their neighborhoods.
UNDP Country Director Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen told community members to avoid discriminating against Ebola survivors and families of people suspected to have died of the virus.