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Liberia

Why are we There?

  • Endemic/epidemic disease

Our Work

2014

  • On 31 March, the first cases of Ebola were confirmed in Liberia. By the end of July, the number of sick had risen to overwhelming numbers and people were dying in the streets.
  • Liberia’s healthcare infrastructure had suffered as a result of the long civil war, and when the Ebola outbreak occurred there were already significant gaps in care.
  • In the space of two months, the number of cases went from fewer than 10 in June to more than 1,000. The epidemic peaked between August and October.

 

Margibi and Lofa counties

  • In April, following reports of suspected cases of Ebola in Liberia, Médecins Sans Frontières sent a small team to Lofa and Margibi counties.
  • In Margibi, east of Monrovia, a small isolation unit was built by a local company and Médecins Sans Frontières supported it with technical expertise and organised training for local health staff. 
  • In Foya, close to the Guinean and Sierra Leonean borders, Médecins Sans Frontières built an Ebola management centre (EMC), and also trained local health staff and made sure that alert systems were in place to refer suspected cases.
  • A package of medical care, outreach activities, psychosocial support, health promotion and contact tracing was put into place.

 

Monrovia

  • In the capital Monrovia, Médecins Sans Frontières started by supporting the authorities and training medical staff in JFK and Elwa hospitals. An isolation unit was also constructed in JFK hospital.
  • In August, the Elwa 3 EMC opened with a capacity of 120 beds, but this gradually increased as the outbreak worsened. The centre had 250 beds by the end of September, making it the largest EMC ever built.
  • A Médecins Sans Frontières rapid response team ran mobile clinics and trained local health staff in triage and infection control.
  • To mitigate the risk of contagion and restore public confidence in the health system, Médecins Sans Frontières supported 13 health centres with infection prevention and control – this later increased to 22 facilities, as new cases presented in different areas.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières also began constructing a new free-of-charge paediatric hospital in the city.
  • An ambulance service was also set up in December to transport suspected Ebola cases to an EMC.
  • Redemption hospital, the only facility in the capital providing free medical care to a population of approximately 90,000, closed entirely in October. To enable the hospital to start offering inpatient services again, Médecins Sans Frontières opened a 10-bed transit centre for the triage of those suspected of having Ebola.
  • Psychosocial support was also offered to the families of Ebola sufferers.

 

River Cess county

  • Following a visit to River Cess county by the Liberian county health team, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November, Médecins Sans Frontières was asked to establish a transit centre in Gozohn.
  • This centre tested people suspected of having Ebola and referred patients to Monrovia for care.
  • Contact tracing and health promotion activities, as well as the construction of triage areas and training of health workers on infection control procedures, continued in six health centres in the region.
  • On 15 December, the organisation Partners in Health and the county health team took over the activities.

 

Grand Bassa county

  • On 22 November, one case was confirmed in Grand Bassa county but just eight days later there were nine severely ill people.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières deployed a team of 16 to establish a base in Quewein.
  • At the end of December, the charity Concern Worldwide and the Liberian county health team took over the epidemiological surveillance and contact tracing.
  • The decommissioning of the EMC and departure of the Médecins Sans Frontières team was planned for early January 2015.

 

Distribution of antimalarials

  • Médecins Sans Frontières distributed antimalarials to 522,000 people in Monrovia not only to protect them from the disease but also to reduce the number of patients presenting at EMCs wrongly thinking they had Ebola.
  • Two rounds of distribution took place in five districts (New Kru Town, Clara Town, Gardnersville, West Point and Logan Town) between late October and December. 

 

For the latest news of where we work visit: http://activityreport.msf.org/ 

Médecins Sans Frontières first worked in the country in 1990 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 373 staff working in Liberia.