Liberia still bears Ebola scars

April 12, 2017 at 6:00 AM

liberiaebola.jpgWhen other health centers in Liberia ran from Ebola, the staff at New Community Clinic faced the disease head on.  (Photo by Nathan Stob)

 

Liberia still bears Ebola scars

By Nathan Stob

There are still signs that Ebola passed through Liberia, Africa.

A mural painted on the side of a building states that Ebola is real, and reminds people to wash their hands. The Ebola quarantine camp is visible from the main road now empty. Two years ago was full of dying patients.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free in May 2015 after the virus claimed more than 4,000 Liberian lives.

Luke Society ministry director, Denise Maxwell, knew well the devastation the disease caused. She oversees the New Community Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia.

When I visited with Denise last month she recounted how patients would begin to show signs of Ebola — fever, muscle aches, diarrhea or vomiting — and many medical professionals would run the other direction, leaving patients to suffer or even die on their own. 

As the Ebola crisis escalated, one by one, clinics began to close their doors out of fear of the disease.

New Community Clinic followed suit and closed its doors as well. However, after only two weeks, when Denise and her team saw the agony people were facing, they made the difficult decision to trust God and begin seeing patients again.

Denise recounted that, “so many Ebola patients passed through this clinic, and God was with us and He’s still with us.”

Amazingly, it was New Community Clinic that saw the last person in Liberia who had Ebola.

The Ebola crisis also came at a personal cost to Denise.  Her mother contracted the disease early on and died.  Later, her sister and brother-in-law died, leaving their four children behind. Denise and her husband, Peter, now care for two of her sister’s children while the other two are cared for by Denise’s brother.

Denise herself came down with the deadly virus, and was one of the few survivors.

Denise has done remarkable work pushing past the weight of the past few years. She leads her faithful staff as they continue to serve the hurting in Liberia. As Liberia continues to rebuild after this disease, Denise is resolute in helping people with their medical needs and telling them about the saving grace of Jesus.

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