Death of Social Worker Augustine Baker Leaves A Mark in Sierra Leone, West Africa

by Julia Samuel on  July 22, 2015 at 6:26 PM Tropical Disease News   - G J E 4
Ebola has left more than 18,000 children in West Africa without one or both parents and more than 8,000 of them are in Sierra Leone, according to UNICEF (the UN children's fund).
Death of Social Worker Augustine Baker Leaves A Mark in Sierra Leone, West Africa
Death of Social Worker Augustine Baker Leaves A Mark in Sierra Leone, West Africa

The UK-run St George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown nurtures such orphans as challenges remain in re-integrating the orphaned children back into their communities.

Augustine Baker was one among the many who work with the foundation to provide a shelter for the orphans who lost their parents to Ebola. He succumbed to the disease along with his wife Margaret and their three small children are now orphans.

"He sacrificed his life working for children. We feel the loss so deeply. His own children have become orphans now. We just feel so [sad]" said Isatu Kamara, a social worker at the orphanage who was mentored by Augustine.

Augustine's children, the youngest just one year old, are now being cared for by their grandmother. "When I remember my son, I always cry. It was such a sudden death," said Juliet, mother of Augustine.

Augustine collapsed during an office meeting at the orphanage in February, 2015. After his death, the entire center had to be quarantined for three weeks.

Isatu Kamara said, "It's been difficult for us to continue but we can't just leave all these cases. Augustine is dead but we must still continue to work for the children."

UNICEF estimates that 8,619 children have lost one or both parents to Ebola in Sierra Leone. The vast majority is able to go back into their communities and is cared for by their extended families. But many of these already poor families are struggling to feed the extra mouths.

With new cases of the virus down to around 10 a week in Sierra Leone, the focus has switched from finding Ebola orphans to ensuring those placed back in their communities are being cared for properly.

Source: Medindia

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