Ebola +1: The Burial Teams. The "Unsung Heroes" of the Ebola Crisis are re-integrated into their communities

Jun 16, 2017

UN Photo/Martine Perret

When ebola came to Sierra Leone, traditional burial practices contributed to its rapid spread. Touching and washing dead bodies, which is typically done by female relatives, meant exposure when the body was at its most contagious.

That is when the Safe and Dignified Burial Teams (SDB) stepped in. These volunteers (2300 in total) were trained in how to handle the body in a way that was both safe and approved by cultural and religious leaders. It was a dangerous work and many many were ostracized by their communities both because of the new, nontraditional burial methods and because friends and families feared the volunteers carried the virus themselves.

Burying up to twenty bodies a day at the peak of the epidemic, they worked from early morning to late evening, often without breaks or food.

Read the full Photo Essay here

 

 

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