Morris Sirleaf and his wife, Fatima, did everything together, “like twins,” he says. “She would wait to eat until I was home,” he remembers. Only a disaster could separate the two, and it did: Fatima fell ill with Ebola.
Morris quickly arranged for Fatima to be driven to a community care center. The car was stopped at the county line: Patients with Ebola symptoms must be in an ambulance to cross the county line, officials said. The ambulance took hours to come. Fatima died waiting.
By the time Morris developed a fever and other signs of Ebola weeks later, things had changed: An Ebola treatment unit (ETU) had been built beside the county hospital. Morris was transferred from a county care center and was among the first patients to occupy one of the ETU’s beds; AmeriCares had fully stocked the ETU with medicine and safety supplies and the International Organization for Migration was managing the operations of the unit. With intravenous fluids, nursing support – and luck – Morris survived.