Salomé Karwah, an ebola survivor, was one of five people featured on the Time magazine cover for their work battling Ebola. She survived the deadly virus and returned to the treatment center to help others who were also infected. She died last week after giving birth to her fourth child as the hospital staff treated her differently due to her history with ebola, her husband says.
Named Time magazine “Person of the Year” in 2014 for her work fighting Ebola in Liberia, Karwah's death is being investigated after reports that health workers were afraid to treat her. The country’s health ministry chief medical officer Francis Kateh said on Wednesday that Karwah died last week four days after suffering complications from giving birth by caesarean section. She was hospitalized in a major hospital.
The Ebola survivor was rushed back to hospital after she lapsed into convulsions following childbirth, Josephine Manley, Karwah’s sister, says. However, staff refused to touch her because she had contracted the deadly virus in late 2014. Kateh expressed how tragic the loss of an Ebola survivor is, and that the government is taking her death very seriously.
Kateh added that the authorities were investigating whether staff had refused to treat Karwah. Karwah worked as a nursing assistant after recovering from the virus and was recognized internationally, together with five others, for her work on Liberia's Ebola outbreak. Many survivors have been shunned by their families, communities, and even health workers, The Express Tribune reports.
There is a stigma in Liberia surrounding Ebola survivors to the extent that many of them lost their jobs, or their spouse, and can no longer afford healthcare. This happens despite experts saying the risk of Ebola recurring in survivors and being transmitted to others is low. Some fear that the stigma could lead to further preventable deaths of survivors in the affected countries, the Essence reports.