From the beginning, it was clear that a medical response alone was not going to stop Ebola. And while doctors were rightly lauded for their incredibly heroic work, community mobilizers like Mariam were in the background laboring in the hot zones, changing minds almost one Guinean at a time, all the while exposing themselves to potential infection and violence.
Throughout July and August of 2014, Ebola tore through Lunsar. Within only a few weeks, eight members of the staff at Massebeneh died, including the hospital's chief surgeon, Dr. Manuel García Viejo. The hospital was closed on September 24. Margaret still grieves for those friends she lost, but she also speaks empathetically about the women in the community who had nowhere to go. With no medical intervention she knows hundreds must have died, not of Ebola, but of other complications common in rural village communities.
While cost is significant, structural barriers to fitness have an even greater impact on black women's health. The idea that anyone can just go outside for a run in their neighborhood makes a lot of assumptions about that neighborhood. People are less likely to take a nice evening stroll if there are no sidewalks or if they don't feel safe.