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"I know that Ebola is not coronavirus, but both are deadly and have caused widespread fear and anxiety."

47 year old Freddie is a Congolese Ebola survivor, whose son died from the deadly virus.

As the world continues to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic, Freddie hopes that his story can encourage Covid-19 patients and their families to never give up hope.

“I lost my son to the Ebola virus. He had become very ill: he was vomiting and had severe diarrhea. We convinced him to go to the hospital, but it was already late when he agreed to be taken to the centre. After a few days, he died.

Later, after he was buried, I started experiencing the same symptoms that he showed. I decided to immediately present myself to get tested. I was positive for the virus.

In the treatment centre I fought against the symptoms and the fear that I may die soon, just like my son. I almost lost my motivation with the sudden death of my son and the idea of being infected with Ebola. I thought it was the end for me, but I needed to fight back for my family – especially for my ten other children who depend on me.

When I was recovering I promised myself that soon after I get healed, I need to save others. A few weeks later I came out of the treatment centre healed. I went back home and decided to join other Ebola survivors in dispelling fear and rumours about the virus. We go to villages to help people to understand Ebola, how we can prevent the Ebola virus from spreading, and that the virus stays in the survivor’s body for around one year after acquiring it.

I like what I am doing. It is fulfilling to be able to help those who are suspected and infected. I encourage them, saying ‘Being infected with a deadly virus is tough! I was once in your situation: I suffered, was treated, and got healed. You can be saved too!” I also console families who are mourning for their loved ones who died from the virus.”

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As of June 16 2020, the World Health Organisation has registered 3463 cases of Ebola in DR Congo. Freddie is one of 1171 who survived during the 10th recorded Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, which started in August 2018. His son is one of the 2280 Congolese who died.

Medair is grateful for the financial and technical support provided by the US Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, which enables Medair to respond to the Ebola outbreak and provide critical services to conflict-affected populations in eastern DR Congo.