Ebola Response

 

International Medical Corps is responding to the current outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mali

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Teams are on the ground in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. We are currently operating five Ebola treatment centers – two in Liberia and three in Sierra Leone – which provide not only isolation and care for Ebola patients but also psychosocial support, which can be a key element in recovery. Also, we are implementing training programs to equip frontline healthcare workers with the skills to stop this outbreak at the source.

QUICK FACTS

  • Nearly 27,000 cases have been reported in 8 countries*
  • The vast majority of cases are in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea
  • Over 860 health care workers have been infected, including nearly 500 deaths
  • We have screened over 1,600 people at our five Ebola treatments centers and discharged 172 survivors
*as of May 21, 2015
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60 Minutes reports from an Ebola treatment center run by International Medical Corps in Liberia, watch the full episode here.
International Medical Corps staff talk about the Ebola crisis and what it’s like to work in an Ebola Treatment Unit.

LATEST UPDATE

May 21, 2015
Los Angeles, CA

Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa, International Medical Corps has been working to help control the epidemic at its source and is one of a handful of international NGOs that is treating Ebola patients.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest, most deadly in history. There have been nearly 27,00 suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases in eight countries since the outbreak was declared in March 2014. The WHO reported a total of 35 new confirmed cases in the week of May 17, the highest weekly total for over a month. Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9 after 42 days of no new Ebola cases since the burial of the last confirmed case. International Medical Corps is encouraged by the zero-case announcement in Liberia, however the international community needs to stay vigilant and not be complacent.

Rebuilding Health Care Infrastructure

International Medical Corps is working to strengthen local non-Ebola health care capacity. Pregnant women are foregoing prenatal care and dying in childbirth. Preventable illnesses like malaria are going unchecked, causing needless deaths.

As one piece of our effort to help rebuild health care infrastructure, we are supporting screening and referral units (SRUs) at hospitals and clinics, which require all staff, patients and visitors to be screened for Ebola prior to entering the facility. If someone is suspected of having Ebola, the SRU staff immediately isolate the patient and refer them to an Ebola treatment center. In Sierra Leone, we have partnered with St. John’s of God Hospital in Lunsar to open an SRU. International Medical Corps provided reconstruction for the existing hospital facility and training for nearly 100 staff in preventing EVD transmission. The SRU allowed St. John’s Hospital to reopen for out-patient services. Since opening on January 10, the unit has screened more than 3,590 people. International Medical Corps is operating and supporting SRUs in Liberia and Guinea.

GETTING TO ZERO:
Liberia has been declared Ebola-free as of May 9th

READ THIS STORY


Training

To expand the pool of health workers capable of managing and working in ETUs across the region, International Medical Corps is providing high-quality training for local staff, other partners, and NGOs in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali where we have opened Ebola management training centers. International Medical Corps has developed a curriculum and a broad-based training strategy to meet critical staffing needs in both Liberia and Sierra Leone.

We are providing training through a Multi-Agency Training Collaborative which is located adjacent to our Bong County treatment unit in Liberia. Physicians and nurses coming into direct contact with Ebola patients receive up to 12 days training, while other essential skilled technical staff, such as logisticians and water and sanitation engineers, receive 7 to 10 days. Topics include management of an Ebola Treatment Unit; the use of personal protective equipment; safe patient transport; admission; triage; psychosocial support; quality assurance; infection control; case management for Ebola patients; and management of the dead. The training consists of three days of hands-on “cold” training and four days of “hot” training in the International Medical Corps - Bong ETU.

Nine survivor caregivers finished their training to work in the Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone. Survivor caregivers are essential to the treatment of children within the wards, as survivors are immune from Ebola and can go into the wards without PPE and provide physical contact which is comforting to the children in treatment.

To date, the Mali Emergency Response Team (ERT) has trained more than 550 medical personnel and more than 380 nonmedical personnel. These trainings include a didactic simulation on infection prevention control protocols, EVD case management, PPE usage, and psychosocial support. A training facility has been constructed in Bamako, the capital city, and should be operational mid-May.

Mental Health

Along with providing medical treatment, our team continues to play a key role in providing psychosocial support, counselling, and care to admitted EVD patients and their families at our Ebola Treatment Units. In addition, our psychosocial experts are reaching out to the local community to discuss Ebola myths and the importance of seeking medical attention if ill.

Treatment

International Medical Corps is operating five Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in West Africa—two in Liberia and three in Sierra Leone. The semi-permanent buildings include dressing rooms, morgue, burial site, decontamination, laundry, and treatment facilities. Safe transport to the unit is ensured by ambulance. The ETUs not only provide isolation and care for Ebola patients but also psychosocial support to patients, their support network, and those who have recovered from the disease. Most of the staff—about 90%—are local health care workers trained in Ebola treatment and prevention.

Liberia

On September 15, International Medical Corps opened a 70-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong County, Liberia, four hours north of Monrovia. The ETU has screened 510 people, 160 of whom have tested positive for Ebola. On November 22, International Medical Corps opened a second ETU in Margibi County, an area southwest of Bong with a population of close to 200,000. The ETU has screened 292 people, only 5 of whom have tested positive for Ebola.

To further ensure the international community can respond quickly and effectively to Ebola in Liberia, an International Medical Corps’ helicopter can be in the air in as little as one hour, transporting an entire mobile Ebola treatment unit and staff to an Ebola-affected area or transporting blood samples and Ebola patients out of the hot zone.

Sierra Leone

On December 1, International Medical Corps opened an ETU in Lunsar, Port Loko District, which had among the highest rates of Ebola in the country. The ETU is staffed by a mixture of international and national staff that were trained and equipped to work at the facility by International Medical Corps. Psychosocial counselors are providing counselling and care to admitted EVD patients and their families and working throughout the neighboring Ebola-effected communities. A second 50-bed treatment center, based on the same model as Lunsar, opened in mid-December 2014 in hard-hit Makeni, the country's fourth largest city. That treatment center is about 110 miles northeast of Freetown. We opened a new ETU in Kambia on April 15, 2015. The new ETU has so far screened 36 people, 8 of whom have tested positive for Ebola.

Mali

Our programming in Mali fills critical gaps in the Mali EVD response. Our program includes rapid response teams, which are able to deploy on short notice. Our mental health and psychosocial staff deploy with these teams to provide support to EVD patients’ families and increase their availability to social support and basic needs. The program is currently underway and staff who received exposure training are now training local health care workers on providing safe and effective management of Ebola Virus cases.

Guinea

International Medical Corps is scaling up our response in Guinea, including supporting hospitals with screening and referral units, providing infection prevention and control training for local and international staff, and also establishing a Rapid Response Team to deploy to hot spots as needed. To familiarize communities with the SRUs, our psychosocial team is organizing meetings with community leaders to encourage the population to access local health facilities again.

Guinea-Bissau

To date, there have been no reported cases of EVD in Guinea‐Bissau, but because it borders Guinea, Guinea‐Bissau remains vulnerable to the West Africa EVD outbreak. Drawing upon our extensive experience in Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, International Medical Corps is focused on supporting infection prevention and control in health facilities, support for epidemiological surveillance in highly‐vulnerable border area, case management for suspect and confirmed cases, and community mobilization.

Nurse Kelly's Ebola Diary:
Kelly Suter, RN, details her experiences caring for patients in an Ebola ward

READ THIS STORY

RELATED LINKS

EBOLA OUTBREAK
Meet our First Responders
CLICK HERE
Rabih Torbay, Senior Vice President for International Operations testified in front of Congress on the coordination of a multi-agency response towards the Ebola outbreak on behalf of International Medical Corps
Read his testimony from October 24
Read his testimony from November 18
Read more about
Ebola Virus Disease
CLICK HERE
Ebola_Map
Join Our
Ebola Emergency Response Team
CLICK HERE
Reproductive Health and Infectious Disease
Read more about how Sexual and Reproductive Health team’s responds during a disease outbreak.
CLICK HERE
 

Where We Are Responding:

Ebola_Map
 
International Medical Corps' Sean Casey speaks with the BBC from on the ground in Sierra Leone about how the organization is responding to the Ebola outbreak and how people are dealing with the threat of the deadly virus.
First Responders talk to the media about our Ebola response and staying safe while providing critical health care.
 
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