March 2, 2017 7:30 AM EST

Salome Karwah used to joke that Ebola survivors like her had “superpowers,” because after overcoming the disease that racked West Africa in 2014, they were immune from it. Her duty, like that of any superhero, she said, was to use those powers for the betterment of humankind. So after her recovery, the Liberian nursing assistant, who died on Feb. 21 at 28, returned to the treatment center to comfort the sick with her hands-on touch. It was her determination to help when most of the world fled in fear that put her among the Ebola fighters named as TIME’s Person of the Year in 2014.

But just because Karwah escaped Ebola didn’t mean she was secure against the failures of Liberia’s shattered medical system. She died from complications in childbirth, a victim of the larger yet silent epidemic of neglect.


This appears in the March 13, 2017 issue of TIME.

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