Table 4

Emerging themes and key quotes from Ebola focus group discussion (FGD) participants, Sierra Leone, 2015

Emerging themesKey quotes from participants
Trust in the healthcare systemTreatment of healthcare worker‘People are not treated well at the holding centers and hospitals. My father was sick and when he was taken to the hospital, he was isolated by the health workers. No “attention was given to him”, except the security officer who came to his aid and advised that we take him to Emergency hospital [ETU] where he was later transferred.’ (Western Area Rural—young woman)
Confidence in facilities‘It is only now that we realized that we were lack of hospitals in this country, the Ebola outbreak manifest it clearly. Only now they are building hospitals.’ (Western Area Urban— young man)
Fear of infection control measures‘The people think that, the too much chlorine sprayed in the ambulance before collecting the patients contributed to the death of many people because the ambulance is sealed.’ (Western Area Rural—young woman)
Interactions with Ebola survivorsIntegrating survivors back into the community‘Ebola survivors should be put together in a particular place for a period of their first three months.’ (Port Loko—young men)
‘A child who survives will find life very difficult after Ebola because the child will face so much stigma and shame, and discrimination from friends as most parents will warn their children not to go closer to them.’ (Port Loko—young woman)
Perceptions of possible sexual transmission‘Some survivors do not carry condoms with them anywhere they go, it can happen to people who are not survivors. Sometime you may feel at risk of STI when you want to have sex but if condoms are not available at the moment you have no option you just have to.’ (Moyamba—young woman)
Improving the survivor situation‘Government should provide a periodic health checkup for the Ebola survivors as most of them have health problems and do not have money to see doctors for further treatment.’ (Western Area Rural—young woman)
Impact of Ebola on lives and livelihoodEconomic hardship‘We are all farmers and traders before Ebola … my sister who was a trader lost all of her business when she was under quarantine … they later ended their quarantined period and things are hard for her now. She has no one to refund all she has lost. She barely survived [Ebola] with her children. So this is one example of the crisis that Ebola has brought to us.’ (Kambia—adult man)
Social impact‘Ebola has affected the way we used to interact with friends … like we used to play football but now that cannot happen because of Ebola. It has also affected religious practices for both Muslims and Christians. Like the Christians when we pray there is a particular song we used to sing which is “Hold somebody.” When singing it we used to hug each other but we can no longer do that. Also for the Muslims they cannot shake hands [after prayers] like they used to do before.’ (FGD—Port Loko—young man)
‘Some of the actions I want government to be doing so that Ebola will never come to Sierra Leone again is continuous cleaning of the communities so that the country as a whole because Ebola is associated with dirt.’ (Moyamba—adult woman)
Barriers and facilitators to ending the outbreakBarriers to an Ebola-free environment‘Those working at the check points are doing selective checking especially if you are in a private vehicle they would not even stop you on the way or even at the check point but will check all public transport.’ (Port Loko—young woman)
Facilitators of an Ebola-free environment‘The only way we can get Sierra Leone an Ebola free environment is to abide by the rules and regulations that has been put in place meaning we must use preventive measures until the country attain 42 days 0 Ebola case.’ (Kono—young man)
‘It is only now that we realized that we were lack of hospitals in this country, the Ebola outbreak manifest it clearly. Only now they are building hospitals.’ (Western Area Urban—young man)
‘We want government to involve the women in the fight against Ebola. The women are the caregivers at home; they care for the husband, children and the rest of the family members at home.’ (Kambia—adult man)
‘People like to see real things before they believe if these people champion the Ebola fight they can win. At the initial stage of the virus there was lot of denial that makes thing very difficult to control the virus so if these survivors champion the fight against Ebola we must surely get to zero. Which is everyone concern now.’ (Moyamba—young woman)
Protective health behaviours‘I strongly believe that if only we continue to practice the hand washing activity, avoid body contact and all the things that we should not do then Ebola will never come back into our community.’ (Port Loko—young man)