Liberian nurse Sedia Marwolo was 32 weeks pregnant when doctors arrived at her home and took her to a special coronavirus hospital, which she compared to “hell”.
It was the start of a 15-day trial in which the 38-year-old woman cried almost every day and was paralyzed by the fear of knowing whether her baby would survive her COVID-19 infection.
Marwolo’s bosses sent her home in early May – without giving her a reason – although colleagues later told her that her immediate supervisor had tested positive for coronavirus.
Five days after they decided to take a test, the medical personnel in protective clothing were waiting for Marwolo at her home, while her neighbors watched her being taken away.
In a nightmare for a pregnant woman, Marwolo was separated from her family and taken to an intensive care unit for coronavirus in a military hospital east of the capital Monrovia.
“I was like in hell, alone and abandoned,” she said. “Being pregnant and ending up in a corona intensive care unit is terrible.”
Liberia has registered some 250 cases to date, with 24 deaths – a small number compared to Europe and the United States infected with the virus.
But as with other poor countries in the region, there is concern that Liberia is ill-equipped to deal with a large epidemic.
The nation of some 4.8 million people was already severely affected during the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola crisis, which killed more than 4,800 people in Liberia.
Inside the military hospital, Marwolo did not eat for two days out of fear. “I noticed that my baby was no longer moving in my stomach,” she said.
But she found a friend and ally in Harriette Mondaye, a midwife employed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who advises pregnant patients with coronavirus.
“It was a difficult time,” said Mondaye, adding that the infected nurse cried every time she spoke on the phone.
It is feared that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable in the coronavirus crisis.
During the Ebola crisis in Liberia, suspicious hospitals sometimes refused to accept patients, leaving some pregnant women to give birth on the streets.
To prevent this scenario from happening again, UNFPA is providing maternity counseling at the Liberia Coronavirus Hospital, said Mondaye.
Marwolo finally started eating again and was discharged from the coronavirus hospital after 15 days, after recovering.
She then gave birth to a baby girl, who did not contract the virus.
But after surviving the ordeal, Marwolo and his family now face the stigma of having had contact with COVID-19.
Her husband and one of her three children also contracted the disease and recovered, making the family outcasts in her neighborhood.
“Stigma is another hell for any victim of this virus,” she said.
“It’s like a curse. We are even planning to leave the community.”
Marwolo attributes his recovery to the help of Mondaye and wishes to undertake further studies to advise people in similar distress situations.
“She encouraged me, she gave me hope,” said Marwolo.
(This story has not been edited by GalacticGaming staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)