Sierra Leone has just hit an amazing milestone – its last confirmed Ebola patient has been discharged. The country announced that 35-year-old Adama Sankoh was released from a treatment center on Monday.
Ms Sankoh contracted Ebola from her son, who died of the disease last month. She was treated at the International Medical Corps treatment center in Makeni, which she left via a red carpet, singing and dancing along with the medical team. She thanked the health workers that treated her.
“She was escorted out from the inside of the high-risk zone by our staff members who were wearing full personal protective equipment. She came out through the discharge shower and arrived to singing and dancing and clapping. There was a big celebration, so everyone was extremely happy,” Vanessa Wolfman, the local International Medical Corps' Emergency Medical Director, told BBC World Service.
Sankoh then added her handprint to the others on the wall of survivors outside the treatment center. The Associated Press reports that before leaving the center, she said: “Although my child died of Ebola, I am very happy that I have survived today.”
The president of Sierra Leone was also present at the celebrations. He presented Adama with a certificate and said: “The Ebola fight is not yet over – go and tell members of your community that.”
Sierra Leone was one of the countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak, where it killed 4,000 of the 11,000 people who died across West Africa. The country now begins the 42-day countdown to being officially declared free of the virus.
“This is not the end of the fight against Ebola…We have seen many setbacks before, and nobody should be complacent about the challenge that lies ahead for the people of Sierra Leone,” Sean Casey, regional director of West Africa Ebola Response International Medical Corps, said in a statement.
“But today is without doubt a day for celebration and reflection on the thousands of lives lost during this devastating crisis,” he added.
Image credit: Corporal Paul Show/MOD via Flickr. CC BY 2.0