vendredi 24 octobre 2014

PSYCHOLOGISTS AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS TO COMBAT GLOBAL AND CHRONIC ILLNESSES

DO WE NEED OR SHALL I SAY WHY DO WE NEED, PSYCHOLOGISTS AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS CONFRONTING GLOBAL AND CHRONIC ILLNESSES.

Alexander Kollie's story:  From BBC 
Saturday 21 September is a day I will never forget: I was out working with MSF as a health promotion officer, visiting villages and telling people about Ebola.
Then I got a call from my wife's number. I answered the phone but nobody spoke.
She was staying in the capital, Monrovia, with three of our children while I was working in Foya, in the north of Liberia.
At that time, Ebola had come to Liberia so I tried to talk to my family about the virus and to educate them, but my wife did not believe in it.
I [had] called my wife begging her to leave Monrovia and bring the children north; she did not listen; she denied Ebola.
 Alexander Kollie phoned the Ebola hotline when his son, who is known as Kollie, seemed lethargic
Later that night, my brother called me: "Your wife has died."
I said: "What?" He said: "Bendu is dead."
I dropped the phone; I threw it away and it broke apart.
We were together for 23 years. She was the only one who understood me well.
I felt like I'd lost my whole memory. My eyes were open, but I didn't know what I was looking at; I had no vision.
Later that same week, I received another call from Monrovia.
My brother, who was working as a nurse, had been taking care of my wife.
But he became infected, and died, too.
Then my two youngest children were taken to the medical centre in Monrovia, but my girls were very sick and they died.
I felt even more helpless; I was breaking in my mind; I couldn't make sense of anything.
Anger
My eldest son, James Kollie - also known as Kollie - was still in Monrovia in the house where our family had been sick, though he was showing no signs of illness.
He called me and said: "Everyone got sick, I don't know what to do."
I told him to come here to Foya to be with me.
When my son arrived, people in the village would not accept us.
They told us that our family had all died and to take Kollie away.
I was angered by their reaction. I knew he wasn't showing any symptoms and was not a threat to them but because of the stigma, they wouldn't let us stay. We had to move on.
The next morning, though I noticed my son looking more tired than usual; I was worried about him.

Alexander Kollie was able to visit his son at the Ebola treatment centre
He didn't have any symptoms like vomiting or diarrhoea, but he just looked tired.
I called the Ebola hotline and MSF brought him to their Ebola care centre here in Foya to be tested.
When the test came back positive, it was a night of agony for me. I spent the whole night just crying and thinking about what would happen now to my son.
The next day the psychosocial counsellors at MSF calmed me down. They told me to wait. To hold my peace. I sat with them, and we talked and talked.
I was able to see my son in the care centre from across the fence, so I called out to him: "Son, you're the only hope I got. You have to take courage. Any medicine they give to you, you have to take it."
He told me: "Papa, I understand. I will do it. Stop crying Papa… My sisters are gone, but I am going to survive and I will make you proud."
Every day, the counsellors made sure they saw me, and they sat with me so I could talk.
After some time, my son started doing much better. He was moving around… but I was worried that his eyes were still red.
Then something amazing happened, something I could not actually believe until I saw it.
I've seen people with Ebola start to look strong and then the next day, they're just gone.
So I was also thinking, maybe my son will be one of those who will be gone the next day.
'Smiling face'
When finally I saw him come out, I felt so very, very happy. I looked at him and he said to me: "Pa, I am well."
I hugged him. Lots of people came to see him when he came outside. Everybody was so happy to see him outside.
Then MSF told me, that he is the charity's 1,000th survivor of Ebola.
This is a great thing, but I was wondering, how many more people have we lost?
Of course I am so happy to have Kollie still, but it's hard not to think of all those who are no longer with us.


When I took him home with me, he actually had a smiling face. And me too, I had a big smile on my face.
I decided to have a little party for him.
Since then, we do everything together. We sleep together, we eat together and we have been conversing a lot.
I asked him: "What's your ambition after you graduate from high school?"
He's a 10th grade student. He told me that he wants to study biology and become a medical doctor.
So now I'm going to try every way I can to meet his needs and succeed in life, so that he should not feel so bad about the pain he has suffered losing his mother.
I told him: "Now I am your mother and your father. I am serving as both for you now."
He is 18 now, so I will make him my friend… because he's the only one I have to talk to.
I cannot replace my wife, but I can make a new life with our son.


 James Kollie, 18, wants to study biology and become a doctor
FROM
Ebola in Sierra Leone: battling sadness, fear and disgust on the frontline
An MSF psychologist reveals the trauma of dealing with the Ebola outbreak for medics, cleaners and the families of the dead

Last week, a girl came out of the isolation ward. Her name was Bintu and she was almost two. Both her parents had tested positive for Ebola, but she tested negative, so we had to take her out of the ward because the risk of contamination was too high. That was a horrible day.

Psychologist Ane Bjøru Fjeldsæter welcomes Tamba James, who has been tested negative for Ebola. Photograph: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos for MSF
The nurses told me she didn't know how to speak. For the two days she'd been in the ward, she'd been so shocked that she hadn't uttered a word. This can happen to children – it's called elective mutism. When she came out, she was in shock: she didn't make eye contact; she didn't speak to anyone. We put her in a chair and she turned around, with her back to the world.
It must have been a terribly disturbing experience for a child: to see someone come into the ward in a spacesuit; to hear them speaking to her mother in words she didn't understand; to see her mother start crying; and then to be handed over to the stranger in the spacesuit and carried off.
I sat with her for four hours, trying to talk to her in a calm and normal voice and singing her songs, to see if the shock would pass. By the end of the four hours she had turned around and was facing me. She made eye contact, she put her hand out for me to touch her, she tried to start a conversation with me. You could see that she was starting to warm up to me, and that she wasn't in the same condition.
Bintu became an orphan that day. She is in the care of our child protection partner and they will locate other family members who can take care of her. She will need to be monitored for 21 days to see that she does not develop the disease herself.

I AM FULL OF ADMIRATION FOR THE VOLUNTEER DOCTORS AND PSYCHOLOGISTS FROM NORWAY AND CUBA AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES INCLUDING THE 60 AFRICAN DOCTORS WHO HAVE GONE THERE SO FAR. CUBA HAS SENT SO FAR 300 VOLUNTEER HEALTH WORKERS TO FIGHT EBOLA IN WEST AFRICA. INCLUDING PSYCHOLOGISTS.