Liberia thankful over improved health of Ebola survivors

Certain Liberia’s Ebola survivors. Photo: RR

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) Liberians could not wait to express thanks to the Ebola research teams in Liberia and abroad for a study revealing that the health condition of survivors in the West African country has improved significantly.

“The Liberian government, through President George Manneh Weah and the Ministry of Health, would like to thank the researchers and the brave Ebola survivors for their contributions to this study.

“These results will impact the lives of many others, and I am proud of Liberia‘s role,” said Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah.

The latest report following a five-year study, however said certain health problems remain more common among survivors than among their household and sexual contacts who never had the virus.

Although survivors initially reported symptoms of urinary frequency, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, memory loss, and joint pain more often than their close contacts in the study, the occurrence of these symptoms and other physical exam findings went down in both groups over a year.

Nevertheless, both Ebola survivors and their close contacts were found to have many health problems overall.

These are among the first-year study findings reported in the March 7th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by the Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL).

PREVAIL, established in 2014, is a clinical research collaboration between the government of Liberia and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH.

“The study validates the fact that Liberia has emerged out of the onslaught of the 2014 Ebola outbreak to become a leader in Ebola research that is benefiting humanity,” notes Dr. Mosoka P. Fallah, the Liberian Principal Investigator of the study.

“It further signifies the impact of building modern research in a resource-constrained nation through collaboration with a developed country. The champions of this study are the survivors without whom this study would not have been possible,” Dr. Fallah adds.

PREVAIL 3, launched in 2015, is the largest study comparing the health of 966 Ebola survivors and 2,350 of their uninfected close contacts, who help researchers more reliably identify which health issues are specific to survivors.

The study is ongoing at three study sites: John F. Kennedy Medical Center, C.H. Rennie Hospital, and Duport Road Clinic.

Several thousands were killed while a similar number of Ebola survivors live in the country oftentimes under harsh conditions including stigmatization.

© Bur-csa – S.E – From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng