Ebola Response

 

International Medical Corps remains vigilant to keep Ebola out of West Africa

After 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths, the West Africa Ebola outbreak—the largest and deadliest in history—officially ended in late 2015 when Guinea was finally declared Ebola-free after two years of fighting the virus. The epidemic may be over, but small flare-ups of Ebola, like those that have occurred in Liberia, are expected for some time. Furthermore, the virus left behind enormous needs in the region. International Medical Corps remains active in West Africa, working to head off Ebola’s return and helping health systems recover. Our goal: achieve a “durable zero.”

One of the few international NGOs to treat patients afflicted with the virus at the source of the 2014 outbreak in West Africa, today we provide health care and psychosocial support to Ebola survivors and work to strengthen local health care systems as part of longer term preparedness and response measures to prevent future outbreaks of Ebola and other infectious disease with epidemic potential. Our experts are on the ground in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

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  • While many people think the fight against Ebola ended long ago, U.S. government and humanitarian relief organizations like the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Medical Corps are still fighting to end the most devastating Ebola outbreak in history. Learn more about the #TrendOnThis campaign at TrendOnThis.org
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HBO's hit show VICE reports from an Ebola treatment center run by International Medical Corps in Sierra Leone.
International Medical Corps staff talk about the Ebola crisis and what it’s like to work in an Ebola Treatment Unit.

LATEST UPDATE


Over a year after opening our first Ebola Treatment Unit in West Africa, the focus remains on maintaining zero new Ebola cases. We are also working to support survivors and strengthen local health care systems for a better future.

Our Ebola response consists of a broad range of services, including:

Rebuilding Health Care Infrastructure

International Medical Corps is working to strengthen local health care systems in Ebola-affected countries to lift the overall level of care and to better prepare these nations for future public health emergencies, including a possible infectious disease outbreak such as Ebola. We support screening and referral units (SRUs) at hospitals and clinics, which require all staff, patients and visitors to be screened for Ebola-like symptoms prior to entering the facility. Anyone exhibiting signs of the virus is isolated and referred for further observation, testing and—if needed—treatment. We are providing material and technical support to health facilities to ensure that they are better equipped to respond to a potential resurgence of Ebola or another infectious disease, treat survivors, and effectively provide better day-to-day care.

Training

Over the past year, International Medical Corps has provided high-quality training for local staff, partners, and other NGOs. Together with Massachusetts General Hospital, International Medical Corps developed a curriculum drawing from groups including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The resulting curriculum provides a broad-based training strategy to inform, protect, and guide health workers unfamiliar with the Ebola Virus Disease.

As we enter a new stage in the response, International Medical Corps will continue its work to improve the capacity of health workers to respond to a potential infectious disease outbreak. Current and planned programming will offer training on infection prevention and control (IPC), Ebola-related sequelae, and other skill sets needed to strengthen the health system overall.

Mental Health

For the past year, our team has played a key role in providing psychosocial support, counselling, and care to admitted Ebola patients, survivors and their families. Mental health and psychosocial support programs in the next response stage will focus on support for survivors.

In addition, our psychosocial specialists will continue to reach out to local communities to discuss the myths that surround Ebola and the importance of seeking medical attention if ill. They will also work to promote integration of Ebola survivors.

Treatment

At the height of the epidemic, International Medical Corps operated five Ebola Treatment Units in two countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola-related programs, such as the establishment of rapid response teams and IPC training, spanned five West African countries, including the three nations at the heart of the outbreak, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. We also operate in Mali, which suffered a brief, minor outbreak late last year, and in Guinea-Bissau, which remains Ebola free but is considered vulnerable to the epidemic.

Both Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia have closed and the last one in Sierra Leone is set to do so by the end of February 2016. In the coming year, International Medical Corps will be partnering with governments and other stakeholders to support an in-country response to a potential epidemic and to address a wide array of issues—from food security to survivor care—that remain in the outbreak’s wake.

RESEARCH

Triage in the Time of Ebola: Research Across the Plexiglas Partition

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Derivation and Internal Validation of the Ebola Prediction Score for Risk Stratification of Patients With Suspected Ebola Virus Disease

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Remote Sensing of Vital Signs: A Wearable, Wireless ‘‘Band-Aid’’ Sensor With Personalized Analytics for Improved Ebola Patient Care and Worker Safety

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RELATED LINKS

Multi-Agency Training Collaborative for the Ebola Response in West Africa
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EBOLA OUTBREAK
Meet our First Responders
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Ebola Virus Disease
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Reproductive Health and Infectious Disease
Read more about how Sexual and Reproductive Health team’s responds during a disease outbreak.
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Missed us on 60 Minutes?

Lara Logan reports from our Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia, where Americans are fighting the battle against the deadly disease.

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Where We Are Responding:

Ebola_Map
 

    SLIDESHOW (click the white arrow on the right or the left of the photo to flip)

  • Nurses at St. John of God Hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone screen patients for Ebola-like symptoms at the facility's triage. Any suspected cases are quickly moved to an adjacent isolation ward, where they can be referred for testing and if needed treatment.
  • An Ebola survivor places his hand print on the "survivor wall" after being released from the Ebola Treatment Center in Makeni, Sierra Leone.
  • A baby has her temperature taken outside Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Liberia.
  • Dr. Diomande Zingbe Ahmed, one of two doctors on the International Medical Corps Rapid Response Team for the Ratoma area of Conakry, stands outside the home of a suspected Ebola case in the Fula Madina neighborhood.
  • International Medical Corps' Ousmane Sylla facilitates a discussion with a women's association in Dobreka, Guinea. The group, which is made up of teachers, business owners, and even traditional healers, come together with International Medical Corps facilitators to talk about Ebola and common misconceptions around the virus. They are then tasked with spreading what they learned with their families and communities in an effort to fight misinformation about Ebola and prevent people from contracting the virus."Before the arrival of International Medical Corps there was lots of Ebola," says Ballakissa Kouyate, the president of the women's association. "They helped protect us from Ebola."
  • The screening and referral unit at Phebe Hospital in Bong, Liberia.
  • Medical and non-medical professionals participate in a hands-on simulation on the use of personal protective equipment, proper hand-washing, and dead body management. The simulation comes at the end of a training on Ebola case management at International Medical Corps' training center in Bamako, Mali.
  • Mali, which saw Ebola cases last year, was able to quickly curb the spread of the virus, but it is still at-risk as it borders Guinea, one of the three high-transmission countries. International Medical Corps has been helping Mali be prepared if Ebola ever strikes again by training medical and non-medical professionals from health facilities from across the country. The team also created three rapid response teams that were able to respond to suspected cases and built a training facility at the National Center for Disease Control in Bamako, which is also the site for the only Ebola Treatment Unit in the country.
  • Comfort Kollie (front center) celebrates her recovery from Ebola with her family. Comfort was treated at International Medical Corps' ETU in Bong County, Liberia. She later returned to the ETU to work as nurse for International Medical Corps.
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