January 5 2015
Written By Meghana Srinivasan
As the Ebola epidemic has spread through Sierra Leone in 2014, it has affected the lives of every resident. Countless families have lost loved ones, and communities live in fear and uncertainty. The social context of the Ebola outbreak has often been sidelined by the urgency of stopping the spread. However, it is the social situation of communities that often determines how they are able to respond in times of crisis. Medical facilities in Kono District, Sierra Leone are scarce, and severely lacking in necessary resources. Poverty is deeply entrenched, and access to basic medical care is not easily available. As the only provider of primary healthcare in Kono, the Wellbody team has seen firsthand how families living in poverty struggle to live healthily, and provides several social services to people in need to help them get back on their feet.
Jennifer, a single parent of seven, has been visiting the Wellbody Clinic for several years. She brings her children, including three sets of twins, ranging from infants to an 8 year-old, to receive checkups and medical care free of cost. After losing her husband in a motorbike accident in 2013, Jennifer had no income. Unable to leave her young children to find a job, the family is homeless and without the support of any relatives.
Wellbody Alliance provides Jennifer and her family with healthcare, food, and medicine, as well as a monthly stipend of 100,000 leones (roughly $23), empowering her to provide for her family and make ends meet. Thanks to this much needed assistance, poverty will not cause this family to succumb to preventable disease, as many in their district do.
Jennifer's story illustrates the depth of Wellbody Alliance’s commitment to the communities of Kono District. At the Wellbody Clinic, care does not start and end with medicine, but takes a humanist approach dedicated to helping people improve their lives. And healthy living begins with ensuring that residents have the essential means to provide for their families’ needs.
Wellbody Alliance’s holistic approach and commitment to the community is central to our Ebola response work, but also to the development of initiatives beyond the epidemic. Looking forward to 2015, we are confident that this approach will help families like Jennifer's avoid many of the pitfalls associated with poverty, and live healthy lives.