Ebola survivor says she owes her life to British nurse Pauline Cafferkey

Rugiatu Kargbo Credit: ITV News

By Laura Wilshaw: ITV News

Rugiatu Kargbo's life was saved by nurse Pauline Cafferkey and her team at the Kerry Town clinic in Sierra Leone.

When we met her in the village of John Thorpe, she was clutching a Certificate of Discharge that says she is now 'Free of Ebola' in bold black lettering.

She is fit and well now, but has lost much of her family. Her brother and her husband both died; they lived next door to each other.

We asked her what it was like to be in the hospital and in the care of the NHS staff.

She told us: "They treated me so well. I had no appetite but they helped me to eat, they did tests on me and made me better. I couldn't even walk."

She also spoke of their gentle manner: "They encouraged me and talked to me, they reassured me. I couldn't hear them but they were touching me and consoling me."

She says she is now praying for Nurse Cafferkey and had a message for her too. "May God give her medicine to give her long life" she said. "May the Lord make her better and give her a good life. Just like he will give to me now".

Video report by ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler

She is one of the rare survivors in John Thorpe. Ten percent of the whole population in this quiet fishing village has died from Ebola. The ambulances didn't come to begin with and bodies were left in houses for days on end. And the virus carried on spreading.

It all began when a woman named Effie returned to the village from a funeral where she caught the infection. It wasn't long before tens of others had it too. She and her husband died along with two of their four children.

Now an uncle takes care of the remaining children with the support of Street Child; a charity that's providing aid as well as counselling to deal with the grief and the stigmatisation.

The eldest child in the family is 14-year-old Samuel. He says life is tough. "I used to go to school but then my parents died. Now the man who looks after me is very old. I will have to go fishing to make money".

14-year-old Samuel with his family in Sierra Leone. Credit: ITV News

So many people died in John Thorpe that there are 120 orphans in this community of just 800 people.

Alie Sesay, from charity Street Child, speaks to ITV News

But there hasn't been a case of Ebola here for almost a month now, and although the worst is over, life here will never be the same again.

Children from John Thorpe village - many of those pictured here are orphans. Credit: ITV News