On the 14th of August, 25 year old Justina Obioma Ejelonu, a nurse who came in contact with the late Patrick Sawyer, died of Ebola. Her sister spoke to Punch on Saturday revealing how Nurse Justina came in contact with Patrick on her first day at work and how they (family) are currently being stigmatized by friends and neighbors.
“The day she met the infected Liberian was her first day at work at that hospital.
She just got that job. She was the one that called me and ‘gisted’ me
about Ebola and told us how she met and attended to Patrick Sawyer.
Later on, she told me she was having fever. I asked her to go back to the hospital so that she would be tested and she did so that night. She was moved back into the hospital that night as she started throwing up and I kept in touch with her until the last day.”“
I spoke to Obioma two days ago (Wednesday). She said, ‘My sister, I am
better now. Don’t worry, I am okay.’ I felt she was doing better. I
didn’t know she was going to die.”
“It was through Facebook that I got to know that my sister was dead.
Nobody from the state government called us. Nobody from where she worked
called us either. It was from blogs on the Internet that I heard the
We have been stigmatised. Some people called some of my colleagues in
the office and told them my sister, Obioma, was the one that came down
to Enugu. They said she ran to her sister’s house in Trans Ekulu and
also mentioned my office name, Women for Women International.
“Apart from that, my parents are also being stigmatised. The story going
round in the village is that my parents came to Lagos to see Obioma and
contracted the disease as well. My parents have been staying with me. I
invited my father to come over to Enugu when this story about a nurse being infected with EVD broke on the internet.” “My sister knew the implication. She was a nurse.
She mistakenly and ignorantly got infected and she knew the disease was
deadly. There was no way she would have run to us in Enugu, knowing
that the disease is highly contagious. Once bitten, twice shy. She
wouldn’t have wanted us to get infected. That is why I am saddened with this rumour that she came to see me in Enugu.