As he does every month, Faustin Kalivanda, a father of four, returns to the Beni General Hospital for a check-up. But this isn’t a routine check-up. Kalivanda has survived Ebola and was under treatment at this very hospital until November. He lost his wife and their five-year-old daughter Ester to the disease.
He still remembers not only the disease but also the people who helped him recover.
On 1 November, Kalivanda was discharged after he tested free of the virus. To support survivors like Kalivanda, the DRC Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have put in place a programme that covers three fields: clinical, biological, and psychosocial. The program was established in Beni in November, just as Kalivanda was released.
WHO’s surveillance team leader, Dr Mory Keita, said, “this program is fully supported by WHO, in implementing the follow-up of people cured of Ebola for a period of one year. I said that the WHO has already funded the renovation of three monitoring sites. A site in Beni, a site in Butembo, and one site in Mangina.”
Each survivor is provided with follow-up visits every month over a period of six months and then every three months for a year.
Dr Kakule Monjobo John, who oversees the follow-up of survivors, said, “today on his second visit, the patient tells me that he is feeling well, there is no threat for his life in the future, that he will evolve very well, and that he is in good health.”
As of 20 January, 422 people have died in this outbreak, while 245 have survived. Two hundred and seventeen of these survivors are participating in the programme. To support them, 46 staff have been trained on the medical, biological, and psychological follow-up of survivors.
Since his recovery, Kalivanda has decided to bring his experience to the service of other people infected with the virus. Now he works at the treatment centre himself as a nurse assistant, carrying patients from ambulances to the treatment centre and cleaning patient rooms. He believes that as a survivor he has a mission to help change the perception of Ebola in his community, by showing how survivors can contribute~WHO