After 17 months, Sierra Leone continues its fight against Ebola, with five new cases in September alone. The latest is a 16-year-old girl in Bombali district, an area that hasn't had an Ebola case in 169 days. The continued appearance of new cases raises many questions, including how Ebola is spreading and whether or not Ebola will remain endemic in Sierra Leone for the foreseeable future.
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 celebrating as the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free on 9 May, neighboring Sierra Leoneans are still struggling to put an end to Ebola in their country. Seeing the crucial front-line roles women play as caregivers, UN Women partnered with UNMEER, to support the women of Sierra Leone.