April 7, 2019
World Health Day 2019
Fighting Ebola is going to test the humanitarian system to its limit.
The deadly virus is replicating at a frightening rate. While predictions vary, it’s possible the world will be fighting Ebola in West Africa for a year or more.
As of October 20, the current outbreak includes over 9,200 confirmed cases. According to estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the real number of cases is probably 2.5 times higher – or around 23,000. Our chance to contain the epidemic will quickly disappear unless the world scales up its response.
Doctors of the World (also known as Médecins du Monde, or MdM) is working in Liberia and Sierra Leone to prevent Ebola’s spread and shore up overwhelmed local healthcare systems. It is also working to prevent transmission in neighboring Ivory Coast.
MdM has more than ten years’ experience working in Liberia, the worst-hit country to date, where it is training local health workers to protect local communities by raising awareness and training them in how to prevent the virus’s spread. MdM is also training local health workers to identify and refer suspected Ebola cases, as well as providing them with medications, essential protective equipment, and psychological support.
MdM is also working to keep five local health centers open to treat non-Ebola patients. This is an urgent need given that the number of collateral casualties – people suffering from other illnesses that are going untreated – is reported to be rising swiftly. These health centers serve some 600,000 people in Montserrado county, which has Liberia’s highest concentration of Ebola cases.
In Sierra Leone, MdM is using its deep ties – based on fourteen years of on-the-ground work – to support local communities and healthcare authorities organize to prevent Ebola from spreading to the Koinadugu district, in the north of the country. It is participating in a pioneering automated contact-tracing project, and is likely to expand its programming in the coming weeks.
Ivory Coast, which borders both Liberia and Sierra Leone, has not yet had any reported Ebola cases. MdM is working to support prevention efforts in 125 health centers in the country’s southwest.
Doctors of the World is an international humanitarian network that works in more than 70 countries worldwide. The response in Liberia and Ivory Coast is being led by MdM France. The response in Sierra Leone is being led by MdM Spain.
MdM is also cooperating closely with other humanitarian groups, including the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children.