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Ebola Survivors Become Caretakers for Congo’s Youngest Victims of the Disease

These women are caring for Ebola’s youngest victims, after surviving the disease themselves. “For the children we keep, we meet all their needs,” caregiver Ruth La Fleurissante stated. “Whether it is clothes, giving them milk, even feeding them solid food. There is provision for everything they need.” Approximately 29% of Congo’s current Ebola cases are children, according to the World Health Organization and approximately 250 children have died since the crisis began in August 2018. The disease can be spread through human contact. Doctors have to wear heavy protective suits that obscure their faces and limit the time they can spend with patients. But former patients, who are now immune to the disease, can offer much-needed human contact. Jaenine Masika is one of the 23 former patients now working at the clinic where she spent 21 days for treatment. The mother of six has lost 10 family members to the Ebola crisis. “The work that I do, taking care of these children, is because I am a parent with children at home, and I would have liked it if someone took care of them while I was ill,” she said. Congo’s president is urging health officials to end the outbreak in just three months. Some children have been left orphaned or abandoned as parents go to seek treatment.

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