The last two Ebola patients in Sierra Leone
The countdown to Ebola free for Sierra Leone
The loss of a young man|Treatment for relatives|Final survivors sent home
In late July, a young man returned to his home village of Massesebe in Northern Sierra Leone, to celebrate the Eid festival with his family.
Within days the man was dead from Ebola.
His death brought to an end a period of 150 days during which Tonkolili district had been Ebola free.
As so often throughout this crisis, it was his closest family who had cared for him through his illness that were now at the greatest risk.
The last two patients
On July 31 the International Medical Corps Ebola Treatment Centre near Makeni, received two new patients, Alhaji, the 36 year old cousin of the man from Massesebe and 24 hours later, Adama, 35 the dead man’s mother.
Both patients responded well to treatment and on Wednesday Alhaji received his second negative Ebola test result which means he could go home. His aunt still tested positive and so had to join in the celebrations of her nephew's release watching across the fence from the Red Zone.
Adama leaves her survivor handprint
This story is in many ways unremarkable. It has been repeated hundreds of times at the ETU in Makeni and across Sierra Leone.
Yet Adama’s story is momentous. With her discharge today, Sierra Leone has reached the milestone of having zero confirmed Ebola cases anywhere in the country for the first time since the crisis began in May 2014.
If no new cases are confirmed for 42 days, then Sierra Leone will officially be declared Ebola free.
It's cause for celebration but the fight is not over
Sean Casey, Regional Director - West Africa Ebola Response International Medical Corps