Understanding the Personal Relationships and Reproductive Health Changes of Female Survivors of Ebola Infection in Liberia

  • Christine L. Godwin
  • Alexandria Buller
  • Margaret Bentley
  • Kavita Singh
Part of the Global Maternal and Child Health book series (GMCH)


This chapter examines the perceived impact of Ebola on the intimate relationships and reproductive health of female Ebola survivors in Liberia. Although the area of Ebola survivor research has grown greatly over the last few years, very few studies have focused on the unique consequences that Ebola survivorship can have on women. This study consisted of in-depth interviews with 69 female Ebola survivors from Montserrado, Lofa, and Bong Counties of Liberia. The chapter reports preliminary findings on relationship outcomes among these women, as well as changes in menstruation and pregnancies post-Ebola. Although experiences varied greatly across the study participants, nearly half of the women reported that the relationship that they were in at the time of their infection with Ebola had ended due to either death of partner from Ebola or abandonment by the partner. Women also reported experiences with stigma and social rejection, both among existing and new male partners. Many of the participants also reported changes in timing, frequency, and consistency of menstruation.


Ebola virus disease Ebola survivor Stigma Intimate relationships Sexual behavior Immune privilege Post-Ebola syndrome Pregnancy Miscarriage Stillbirth Menstruation Amenorrhea Libido Viral persistence Liberia Reproductive health Abandonment Ebola treatment unit Social rejection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine L. Godwin
    • 1
  • Alexandria Buller
    • 2
  • Margaret Bentley
    • 3
  • Kavita Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Maternal and Child HealthGillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Global Studies DepartmentAbilene Christian UniversityAbileneUSA
  3. 3.Department of NutritionGillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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