Miatta Urey, 6, walked out of the Island Clinic Ebola Treatment Unit on Wednesday, smiles beaming on her face in the afternoon sun. Her eyes lit up as she saw her uncle and aunt, there to welcome her back into the real world.
Miatta’s mother, Dedee Sirleaf, could not be there to receive her daughter. Over the past week, all she had been doing was crying and pestering doctors to look after Miatta, whom she had left behind in the ETU. Her brother Mulbah Sirleaf said Dedee could not be there to greet her child because her “heart was hurting.”
Miatta is among Dedee’s four children who contracted Ebola after their father died from the deadly virus. Dedee also lost her 4-month-old baby girl to Ebola, and she could not handle losing another child.
“I’m so happy my daughter is out today; I never thought this day would come,” she said joyfully over a cracked mobile phone line after her daughter arrived home. Dedee was in the midst of a prayer of celebration when the call came. “I lost my baby and I could not bear the thought of losing Miatta, who was my only girl left.”
Watching her husband and baby die of Ebola was the worst tragedy she has ever witnessed in her life, Dedee said. She said watching her children’s condition deteriorate in the ETU almost left her in shock. She was heartsick but worried about the survival of her three remaining children, Prince, 12, Francis, 13, and Miatta, 6.
“Miatta and her brother Francis were very sick, for three days they could not eat or drink anything. I was worried,” she said. “I begged the doctors to save my children [as] I watched them grow weaker and weaker every day.”
Little Miatta’s family tragedy began in August, when her father became sick. Dedee says there was no response from the Ebola call center when she called them. With no one to come to the family’s rescue, they decided to do take things into their own hands.
“My husband was sick, [so] we called the ambulance, but they did not come and for three days my husband, my children, and I were all sleeping in the same room,” said Dedee.
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