Liberia

Read more about our recent response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Country History

Liberia was founded by freed American and Caribbean slaves and is considered Africa’s oldest republic. However, Liberia appeared on the world stage in the 1990s from a decade’s long civil war that killed 250,000 people. The dictator, Charles Taylor stepped down and was exiled to Nigeria. Free elections took place in 2005; however, the country continued to struggle with corruption, unemployment, and illiteracy. Starting in 2014, Liberia was at the center of the largest Ebola outbreak in history—a crisis that persisted into 2015 and left a devastated health system and lingering stigma. The outbreak resulted in some 11,000 cases in Liberia alone and, of those, approximately 4,800 deaths.

Response

International Medical Corps was on the ground in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, just 72 hours after the Government of Liberia declared a state of emergency. We established two Ebola Treatment Units, which together screened and treated more than 800 people of whom 165 were confirmed to have Ebola. Eighty-two people survived, thanks to aggressive and supportive treatment. In addition to direct medical services, we also fought Ebola along all points of the transmission chain, from the rapid isolation of new cases to psychosocial support, infection prevention and control, waste management, clean water supply, and safe, dignified burials. Throughout our response, we trained hundreds of health care workers and other professionals to safely identify, prevent, and treat Ebola to bolster collective national and international efforts to get to zero new cases. Today, our teams are focusing on helping the health system recover and rebuild and be prepared if Ebola strikes again.

QUICK FACTS

  • Population

    Population
    4.2 Million

  • age

    Median Age
    18.1 Years

  • life

    Life Expectancy
    58.6 Years

  • life

    Fertility Rate
    4.7 children per mother

  • Infant Mortality Rate

    Infant Mortality Rate
    67.5 deaths/1,000 live births

OUR PROGRAMS IN LIBERIA

  • Emergency Response and Preparedness

  • Family and Community Health

  • Health Services Support

  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Women's and Children's Health

  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

  • Nutrition and Food Security

International Medical Corps staff talk about the Ebola crisis and what it’s like to work in an Ebola Treatment Unit.

First Responders talk to the media about our Ebola response and staying safe while providing critical health care.

CURRENT PROGRAMS

Health System Strengthening and Ebola Preparedness

International Medical Corps is training some 900 health workers in Bong and Margibi Counties in core clinical practice under a “standard precautions” approach to help health workers regain skills and confidence to treat patients safely and follow proper infection prevention control (IPC) measures to protect themselves and others. This includes appropriately screening and triaging patients, properly disposing of different kinds of waste, quickly assessing and caring for sick patients, and safely managing Ebola patients. For clinicians, this training is also providing refreshers for clinical emergency skills and knowledge, triage protocols, assessment, and emergency first aid techniques (ABCs).

Specialized Care for Ebola Survivors

As more information emerges surrounding health problems Ebola survivors can face, International Medical Corps is also working to train and support local health care providers to address complications associated with Post-EVD Syndrome, such as vision problems and chronic joint pain, and linking Ebola survivors with mental health and psychosocial support services.

Screening and Referral Units

To increase the health system’s capacity to identify suspected Ebola cases—ideally before entry into a health facility—International Medical Corps has managed more than 20 screening and referral units (SRU) at health facilities in Bong, Margibi, Nimba, and Montserrado counties. As part of SRU program package, units are stationed at the entrance of the health facilities to ensure all people are screened for symptoms of Ebola before going in. Any suspected cases are immediately and safely isolated and referred to the nearest ETU or designated facility for testing and, if needed, treatment. We also improve the water and sanitation conditions, such as providing clean water supply and sanitation facilities for isolation units, which we help create alongside the health facilities as part of our preparedness efforts.

Mental Health Care

We also launched a mentorship program for mental health clinicians and social workers in Bong and Margibi Counties. The training not only equips mental health practitioners with the skills to provide mental health support to patients, but also helps them to identify people with mental health conditions and how to best refer them so that they get the care they need. Our psychosocial teams continue to provide one-on-one support to Ebola survivors and other families who were heavily impacted by the virus. They are also organizing community reconnection groups that bring people together in towns that were torn apart by Ebola.

Emergency Obstetric Care

To address the dismal infant and child mortality rates in Liberia, we are working to improve emergency obstetric care for pregnant women by training midwives and obstetric nurses to safely and appropriately manage obstetric emergencies and complicated deliveries in hospitals, and ultimately, save lives. Additionally, at the referral hospital in Bong County, Phebe Hospital, we are providing mentorship and additional emergency skills training to complement the county-level training.

Essential Nutrition Services

Malnutrition is a chronic problem in Liberia and in response, International Medical Corps is supporting health facilities in Margibi County to screen, treat, and refer cases of moderate and severe acute malnutrition among children under five years old. Our teams also travel out to communities to screen children for malnutrition and provide young child feeding education for mothers.

RESOURCES

Liberia Capabilities Statement

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