Global Citizen is pleased to announce its partnership with #ISurvivedEbola in presenting the stories of Ebola survivors and local leaders who are driving the on-the-ground charge to stamp out Ebola and help their communities recover.

The goal and power of #ISurvivedEbola is simple:

Share the stories of courageous heroes and Ebola survivors in order to inform and inspire us all to take action to support individuals and communities impacted by the Ebola virus.

As the Managing Editor here at Global Citizen, I have been carefully following the the narrative of Ebola, and its many twists and turns, over the past 8 months. As the international and local response transitions from containment to recovery, these stories of local leaders and Ebola survivors will allow our global citizen readers to understand and connect with the Ebola response on a more personal, human level.

This is why I am so excited to share the work of #ISurvivedEbola. Rather than statistics, trends, and graphs, we can see and experience the stories of individuals that braved the outbreak and continue to work tirelessly to protect and build back their families, communities, and countries. #ISurvivedEbola showcases resilience and bravery in the face of Ebola’s harrowing and widespread impact. At Global Citizen, we know that the international community has not yet stamped out Ebola’s threat nor adequately addressed its wake.

Cultural sensitivity, understanding, and trust will be the bedrock of the effort to bring new Ebola cases to zero and to allow communities to heal and recover stronger than before the outbreak. Simply put, the leaders and heroes spotlighted in the #ISurvivedEbola campaign embody these necessary qualities in response.

In these stories we meet the leading women, youth, and first-responders of the Ebola crisis. Individuals that have endured Ebola and recovered to selflessly support their communities. These are the grassroots leaders who encounter Ebola’s unavoidable influence everyday and have boldly committed to put an end to it.

I must take a moment in this announcement to recognize my colleague Taylor Light, who has worked tirelessly to identify incredible content partners like #ISurvivedEbola, and helped bring them on board for our global citizen audience.

I encourage us all, as global citizens, to remain engaged with the stories of these individuals as Sierra Leoneans, Liberians, and Guineans continue to work towards complete eradication of Ebola and normalcy, and continue the long struggle to build back better.

Below is the first in a series of powerful, actionable stories from #ISurvivedEbola. The story of Isatu Kanu, an incredible woman leading the charge for preventative care in Port Loko, Sierra Leone.

When it comes to Ebola prevention, survivor Isatu Kanu is one of Sierra Leone’s leading ladies. 

Ebola survivor Isatu Kanu shares her story with #ISurvivedEbola | Image by Idriss Kpange via #ISurvivedEbola

By self-isolating when Ebola symptoms began to show, practicing good hygiene and seeking early treatment at a specialized center, both Isatu and her husband managed to not only survive Ebola, but to prevent its spread to their five children and multiple grandchildren, all of whom live under the same roof.

Isatu was a model of prevention from the start of the outbreak. As the vicious virus spread rapidly across her native Sierra Leone, Isatu remained calm, collected, and attentive to key health messages by listening to the radio and paying attention to social media. When her husband developed a fever during a nationwide lockdown in September 2014, she maintained her composure and isolated herself and her husband from other family members – a strongly recommended practice to prevent the spread of the virus. When his fever persisted, she called a relative to transport him to Connaught Government Hospital, where he tested Ebola-positive.

View near Ebola survivor Isatu Kanu's home in Port Loko | Image by Idriss Kpange via #ISurvivedEbola

On the same day that her husband was transferred to the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center (ETC), Isatu came down with the all-too-familiar symptoms. In light of her husband’s test result, she took extreme measures and eliminated all contact with her family. When her symptoms did not break, Isatu sought medical help at Connaught Government Hospital, where she tested Ebola-positive and was transferred to the Hastings ETC. Thanks to early specialized treatment, both Isatu and her husband recovered from Ebola. Due to their self-isolation none of their immediate family members contracted the virus. 

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Introducing "I Survived Ebola"