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Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Young Liberian Woman Who Saved 3 Relatives From Ebola

Meet Fatu Kekula, the 22 year old Liberian woman who saved her father, mother and sister from Ebola. She also did not contact the dreaded disease throughout this period, inventing her own protective gear which has been adopted by international aid workers. Infact when I first saw her story on TV, I was touched at her courage and compassion. She is truly a hero. 

Fatu's Ebola nightmare started on July 27, when her father, Moses, had a spike in blood pressure. She took him to a hospital in their home city of Kakata. A bed was free because a patient had just passed away. What no one realized at the time was that the patient had died of Ebola. Moses, 52, developed a fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Then the hospital closed down because nurses started dying of Ebola.

Fatu took her father to Monrovia, the capital city, about a 90-minute drive via difficult roads. Three hospitals turned him away because they were full. She took him back to another hospital in Kakata. They said he had typhoid fever and did little for him, so Fatu took him home, where he infected 3 other family members: Fatu's mother, Victoria, 57; Fatu's sister, Vivian, 28, and their 14-year-old cousin who was living with them, Alfred Winnie.

The final year nursing student had no choice but to start operating her one-woman Ebola hospital. Fatu consulted with their family doctor, who would talk to her on the phone, but wouldn't come to the house. She gave them medicines she obtained from the local clinic and fluids through intravenous lines that she started. At times, her patients' blood pressure plummeted so low she feared they would die. "I cried many times," she said. "I said 'God, you want to tell me I'm going to lose my entire family?' "

Fatu also invented her protective gear. International aid workers heard about Fatu's "trash bag method" and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can't get into hospitals and don't have protective gear of their own. Every day, several times a day for about two weeks, she put trash bags over her socks and tied them in a knot over her calves. 

Then she put on a pair of rubber boots and then another set of trash bags over the boots. She wrapped her hair in a pair of stockings and over that a trash bag. Next she donned a raincoat and four pairs of gloves on each hand, followed by a mask. It was an arduous and time-consuming process, but Fatu was religious about it, never cutting corners.

"I'm very, very proud," her father said. "She saved my life through the almighty God." Now he's working to find a scholarship for Fatu so she can finish her final year of nursing school. He has no doubt his daughter will go on to save many more people during her life. "I'm sure she'll be a great giant of Liberia," he said.

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