By Scovia Faida Charles, Communications officer, World Vision South Sudan; Edited by Daniel Wilcox
“I love my work despite the risks. I want to help protect our communities from disease,” says Jackline, a 23-year-old nurse who works with one of World Vision’s Ebola Preparedness and Response teams.
Born in Uganda as a South Sudanese refugee, Jackline completed her nursing certificate in 2017. Soon after, Jackline returned to her roots and began working within community health facilities in South Sudan, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In February 2019, an opportunity arose to support a pressing emergency. In sections of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola was spreading and would soon become the world's second largest outbreak on record, with more than 2000 lives lost and 3000 confirmed infections.
Face to face with Ebola
“I attended several trainings on Ebola response by the World Health Organization and learned how to identify cases, disinfect oneself properly after treating patients, conduct awareness in the community and screen at points of entry,” she shares.
Jackline was part of a World Vision team who responded to six suspected Ebola cases. “The first case still bothers me to this day because I saw the mother as she bled from the nose. She was crying and begging for treatment. I imagined what would happen to her two children if she was confirmed to have Ebola. From that day on, I promised myself to give my best to help,” she recalls.
“I also remind everyone to take the necessary precautions and report any suspected Ebola case to the isolation unit,” she adds.
Jackline (left), explains Ebola signs and symptoms to a patient
Since there are so few trained health workers in both the DRC and South Sudan, Jackline’s role is critical. Her main responsibility now is to help prevent the spread of the disease by assessing people who may have symptoms of Ebola at the border of these two countries.
The work gives purpose to Jackline and she is determined to support, despite the danger. She says, “Since childhood, I dreamt of doing something for my country. Now I know my purpose in this world is to help protect the most vulnerable communities in South Sudan and assist in fighting the Ebola disease.”
“My hope is that someday health services will reach the most vulnerable people of South Sudan on time. I will always work hard to stand with my people especially during these challenging times,” she concludes.
Jackline has a passion for seeing families stay healthy, especially from Ebola.
Since August 2018, World Vision has been conducting Ebola awareness activities after the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Currently, World Vision runs screening services for surveillance at nine borders points of entry, including at the border between the DRC and South Sudan.
World Vision also implements the Ebola preparedness and response program in 42 health facilities where frontline health workers like Jackline are trained. Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are also being established and rehabilitated in these areas.