Liberian nurse Sedia Marwolo was 32 weeks pregnant when medics arrived at her home and hauled her away to a special coronavirus hospital, which she likened to “hell”.
It was the beginning of a 15-day ordeal during which the 38-year-old cried almost daily and was crippled with fear over 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 taking it upon herself to take a test, medical staff in protective gear were waiting for Marwolo at her house, while her neighbours watched her be taken away.
In a nightmare for an expecting mother, Marwolo was separated from her family and taken to a coronavirus intensive care unit in a military hospital east of the capital Monrovia.
“I was like in hell, alone, and abandoned,” she said. “To be pregnant and find yourself in a coronavirus ICU is terrible
Liberia has recorded some 250 cases to date, with 24 fatalities — a low number compared with virus-stricken Europe and the United States.
But as with other poor countries in the region, there are fears that Liberia is ill-equipped to handle a large outbreak.
The nation of some 4.8 million people was already badly hit during West Africa’s 2014-16 Ebola crisis, which killed more than 4,800 people in Liberia.