Pregnant women still avoid hospital in Guinea due to Ebola scare

Guinea has been free of Ebola since June. But pregnant women are still afraid of the virus, avoiding hospital and giving birth alone, writes the BBC's Tamasin Ford.
Mamanata Soumah told me she didn't once see a midwife, a nurse or a doctor during her entire pregnancy and even as she entered the third day of excruciating contractions without any pain relief, she refused to see anyone.
I asked her why.
"I was scared of Ebola," she said.
This was back in March. Five months after this area had been declared Ebola free.
"I didn't have the courage to go for check-ups at the clinic because so many people died there," she said.
Ms Soumah told me she felt the baby moving in her tummy right up to the end.
"The baby just got too tired," she said with a blank look in her eyes.
"It was born dead."

Avoiding vaccinations

She is not the only pregnant woman who was too scared to go to hospital.
More than half a dozen women, cradling tiny babies in their laps, patiently waited outside the village chief's hut in Kalemodiagbe village to speak to me.
Everyone had a story to tell.
One was Ms Soumah's sister-in-law. M'mah Camara still refuses to take her baby to hospital to get vaccinated.
Like Ms Soumah, she also spent three days at home in labour, refusing to visit a doctor or a midwife.
Unlike Ms Soumah, her baby survived.

She gently tightened a green towel around her two-month-old baby.
The 27-year-old lost 13 members of her family to Ebola, including her husband.
After he died, following local traditions, she married his brother; the father of her baby.
"During Ebola people left to go to the clinic but they never came back. I'm scared to go now in case I don't come back," she said.
Nobody came back alive
It's the same story for the other new mothers and pregnant women in the village.
Even after Ms Soumah's horrifying experience, the fear of Ebola seems to outweigh the fear of anything else.
Fatoumata Camara is seven months pregnant but has no intention of using the healthcare system.
"Since my friend lost her baby, I'm scared of the birth but I don't have the courage to go to the clinic," she told me.
Her own mum, brother and mother-in-law all died of Ebola.

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