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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:03 pm 
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MSF has put out an assessment of the Ebola situation.


http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/si ... _12.14.pdf

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:04 pm 
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EBOLA RESPONSE: WHERE ARE WE NOW?
MSF BRIEFING PAPER
DECEMBER 2014
INTRODUCTION
In early September 2014, MSF urged states with biological disaster response capacity to intervene in
West Africa, where an outbreak of Ebola has already taken more than 5,900 lives. Without the help of
foreign governments, the organisation said, nongovernmental groups and the United Nations had no
hope of effectively implementing WHO Global Roadmap against Ebola.
In particular, MSF called for states to urgently intervene in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to
dispatch trained personnel in their numbers, to create mobile laboratories to improve diagnostics and
to set up Ebola case management facilities. The organisation also called for these states to establish
dedicated air bridges with which to move personnel and equipment to and within West Africa; to
create a regional network of field hospitals to treat medical personnel; and to address the collapse of
state infrastructure, which has left people in many parts of West Africa without access to basic
healthcare.
Three months later, the Ebola response is rolling out in the worst-affected countries, and local people
and authorities, international NGOs and foreign governments are now involved to varying degrees.
There have been positive steps forward: for example, a number of bodies have been established to
improve coordination at the national and regional levels; a handful of field hospitals for healthcare
workers have been set up in the region; and governments – with some support from the international
community – are now leading on efforts against Ebola in all three countries.
On the whole, however, the response to this rapidly-changing epidemic has so far been inadequate.
Instead of the well-coordinated, comprehensive and expertly-staffed intervention MSF called for
ninety days ago, actual efforts have been sluggish and patchy, falling dangerously short of
expectations. In particular:
• The international response to Ebola in West Africa has been slow, encumbered by serious
bottlenecks in terms of staffing. Though all three of the worst-hit countries have received
some assistance from foreign governments, these actors have focused primarily on financing
and/or building Ebola case management facilities, leaving staffing them up to NGOs and local
healthcare staff who do not have the expertise to do so. Training people to safely operate
Ebola case management facilities and carry out other necessary activities takes weeks of
theoretical and hands-on training. Though a number of organisations including MSF have
been offering training, this bottleneck has created major delays.
• In all three of the worst-affected countries, there are still not adequate facilities in which to
diagnose and care for patients, and there are major gaps in all other elements of the
response
1
. In Liberia, most of the operational beds are concentrated in the capital Monrovia,
while remote rural areas are benefitting from little international support. In Sierra Leone, there
are still not enough additional case management facilities for the increasing number of
infections across the country: most patients currently in MSF’s case management centres
1 MSF’s strategy to control Ebola is organised into six elements: isolation and supportive medical care for cases, including
laboratory capacity to confirm infection; safe burial activities in case management facilities and in communities; awarenessraising;
alert and surveillance in the community; contact tracing; and access to healthcare for non-Ebola patients, including
protection of health facilities and health workers. These activities are interdependent and all must be in place to contain the
epidemic.2
(CMCs)2 in Bo and Kailahun come from other districts. In Guinea, there are only a handful of
CMCs open and running, eight months after the epidemic was declared. Across the region,
there are major gaps in all other elements of the response. Only a small number of
international actors are carrying out these activities and not all of the affected areas are
covered.
• We must avoid a “double failure” situation whereby the response is slow in the first
instance and ill-adapted later on. Many international actors seem unable to adapt quickly
enough to a rapidly-changing situation. The result of this is that resources are being allocated
to activities that are no longer appropriate to the situation. In Monrovia, Liberia, for example,
more case management facilities are being built despite adequate isolation capacities and a
drop in cases in the capital. All actors involved in the response – MSF included – must take a
flexible approach and allocate resources according to the most pressing needs at any given
time and place.
Today, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and now Mali are all in different phases of the outbreak and the
hotspots are constantly moving. Across West Africa, MSF is providing assistance in all six of the
essential elements of an Ebola response: isolation and supportive medical care for cases; safe burials;
awareness-raising; alert and surveillance in the community; contact tracing; and the provision of
general healthcare. More flexible support is urgently required in all of these areas until the outbreak is
over – in other words, until the very last contact has been followed up and is found to be Ebola-free.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:06 pm 
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LIBERIA
Progress being made, adapted response still required
In terms of the number of cases, Liberia has been the worst hit by this outbreak, and Monrovia and the
capital region the most gravely affected area of the country. Case numbers have begun to drop in
Monrovia, and the four case management centres (CMCs) in the capital currently have spare bed
capacity. However, elsewhere in the country, such as in Bong, Margibi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount
and River Cess counties, new cases are appearing. The outbreak is far from over, as a single case can
start a localised epidemic.
Case management facilities with large bed capacities are now being built by foreign governments and
NGOs. Beds for Ebola patients are currently concentrated in the capital, and 16 more CMCs are to be
built across the country. However, the staffing of these planned case management facilities will fall
largely to “implementing partners”, such as local healthcare workers and NGOs. A number of actors
are providing training to these implementing partners; but it will take some weeks before these
individuals are trained up and ready to safely care for patients.
Striving to deliver on what was promised two months ago, many international actors seem unable to
adapt to the rapidly-changing situation in Liberia. The result of this is that resources are being
allocated to activities that are no longer appropriate to the situation. For example, the Chinese
government has just built another 100-bed CMC in Monrovia – where there were already 580
operational beds in four existing CMCs – while there are only 178 operational beds in CMCs in the
rest of the country. Two more CMCs are planned to open in the same neighbourhood.

Though seemingly sufficient in Monrovia for the moment, isolation and supportive medical care for
patients are still urgently needed in rural parts of the country. In some cases, such as in River Cess
county, patients must travel for up to 12 hours by road in order to reach a functioning laboratory and a
CMC. Getting care to patients in rural, hard-to-reach areas poses major challenges in terms of logistics
and transport.
In many places, personnel at regular healthcare facilities have not received training on infection
control and how to manage Ebola patients, should one walk through the door; nor have they received
medical equipment required to protect themselves. Healthcare facilities are fast becoming sites of
Ebola transmission and many have closed as a result: in Monrovia, for example, most healthcare
facilities have shut their doors. To allow them to safely reopen, triage points must be set up in these
structures, and activities to restore trust in healthcare facilities must be carried out.
There are still active chains of transmission in almost every part of the country, demonstrating the
need for further awareness-raising and community engagement. MSF teams are still finding that
misconceptions about Ebola are widespread and stigma is intense, leading some to avoid seeking
treatment or report cases. On a recent exploratory mission to Bong county, for example, MSF found
that people who had been in contact with the sick were fleeing into the bush so as not to be traced as a
contact or taken to a case management facility, fearful of what may happen.
Other activities that require urgent support – especially in remote, rural parts of the country – are
laboratory services (with transport if necessary for quick turnaround), safe burials, alert and
surveillance systems, ambulance services and contact tracing. Though Ministry of Health (MOH)
teams have been dispatched to all counties to carry out these activities, they sometimes lack the basic
equipment necessary to do it and are not paid for their work. On an exploratory mission to Margibi
county two weeks ago, MSF found that contact tracing and active case finding teams lacked essentials
like vehicles and SIM cards for their mobile phones. Support from foreign actors is starting to appear
in some affected rural counties; but there are others where this is not the case.
MSF has seen that a comprehensive response to Ebola that includes all of the necessary elements can
help to reduce transmission. In Foya, Lofa county, where the full complement of Ebola response
activities has been carried out and the local community has been very engaged, there has not been a
single confirmed case for more than four weeks. In this fluid and rapidly-changing outbreak, all actors
involved in the response to it must take a flexible approach and allocate resources to activities when
and where they are most needed.
2 A case management centre (CMC) is a centralised facility where people can be screened and receive supportive medical
care for Ebola in large numbers (50+ beds); by centralising patients a high standard of infection control can be assured.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Ebola treatment centres’. Not to be confused with transit centres, which are facilities where
suspected cases can be safely isolated and receive care until transfer to a CMC; or community care centres (CCCs), which are
small (eight to ten bed) facilities where suspected patients from a smaller catchment area are isolated within their
communities and are administered basic care, medications, safe water and sanitation, and food supplies.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:06 pm 
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SIERRA LEONE
Isolation capacity still inadequate, local healthcare workers struggling to cope
The fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone is being outpaced by the increasing number of infections.
Despite efforts by the national authorities and support from international actors, the situation is far
from under control. Every district in Sierra Leone is affected by the epidemic, and the number of
infections has increased alarmingly. The Western area (Freetown and suburbs) and Port Loko,
Bombali and Tonkolili remain zones with high case loads and ongoing transmission.
Foreign governments – mainly the UK and China – have sent teams to construct new centres in
different locations around the country, including Port Loko, Freetown and Makeni. In September, the
UK announced that it would construct and provide material resources for 700 additional beds (it would
be up to implementing partners to staff them). As of 27 November, only 11 of these beds were
operational, and only 28 patients had been treated. While the remaining centres are under construction
and scheduled to open soon, they will not be running at full capacity until well into the New Year.
Training is now being carried out by a number of actors, which is a welcome development.4
Despite large pledges of assistance from the international community, the bulk of the hands-on work
with patients and communities is still being carried out by local people, the Sierra Leonean authorities
and NGOs. At the moment, in the Western area – one of the most affected – the vast majority of the
available beds for Ebola patients are operated by the Ministry of Health (MOH), with some support
from international agencies and governments like the UK, China and Cuba. About 50 per cent of the
available beds in all of Sierra Leone are operated by the MOH and the Sierra Leonean armed forces,
and another 40 per cent are run by MSF.
Isolation and supportive medical care for patients remains a critical issue: there are still not enough
operational beds for the increasing number of infections across the country. In MSF’s case
management centres (CMCs) in both Bo and Kailahun, the majority of patients are now coming from
other districts as there are insufficient case management capacities further afield. There is an acute
lack of bed capacity in Freetown and the Western region: this weekend, the MSF CMC in Kailahun
admitted 10 patients who had come from Freetown as there were no free beds closer to the capital.
Freetown is nine hours away by road.
In the absence of adequate facilities to isolate, diagnose and manage Ebola cases, Sierra Leonean
healthcare workers are struggling with the needs and are forced to face the epidemic with whatever
support they can get. MSF is deeply concerned about contamination of uninfected patients and
healthcare workers in existing healthcare facilities, where staff are not necessarily trained to manage
Ebola patients and where infection control measures cannot be assured.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:07 pm 
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GUINEA
Long overlooked by international efforts, response in Guinea painfully slow
Guinea was the first country affected by Ebola in West Africa, but initially the country benefited from
little international support. As the epidemic expanded to neighbouring countries, the largest
international commitments to help respond went largely to Liberia and Sierra Leone; since September,
however, local and international commitments have been trickling in.
The situation in Guinea is alarming. Since August, case numbers in Guinea have been on the rise, and
in November the caseload was about 25 per cent higher than it was in October. The outbreak has also
been spreading geographically: new areas are reporting infections and 17 of Guinea’s 33 prefectures
have reported cases in the past three weeks.
The national task force for the coordination of the Ebola response is improving; but at the same time,
at the prefecture level there are still gaps that must be filled with urgency. Deployment and
reinforcement of the different activities required to control the outbreak – and support from
international partners to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to implement them – is urgently required in
most of the areas affected.
At present, there are only four case management facilities receiving Ebola patients. In mid-November,
the French Red Cross (FRC) took over the MSF-built case management centre (CMC) in Macenta, and
the French government now fully finances the structure and the attached laboratory – a positive
development. But the FRC and MSF are two of only a handful of international organisations running
case management facilities in the country. Two other CMCs are being built by the World Food
Programme (WFP); but for the moment, only one international organisation has been identified to run
one of the supplementary facilities.
Like in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the absence of implementing partners willing and able to manage
CMCs and a lack of trained staff have been a bottleneck and the source of large delays. MSF has taken
a key role in training staff from other organisations: so far around 120 national and international nonMSF
staff have been trained in MSF’s two CMCs. However, training these individuals to safely staff
the new CMCs takes time, on the order of weeks; meanwhile case numbers continue to mount.5
There is insufficient capacity for isolating and providing supportive medical care to patients in Guinea.
As of the middle of November, MSF’s Guéckédou CMC was full to capacity, with the majority of
patients coming from far away areas.
Other activities such as alert, surveillance and patient referral to case management facilities are slowly
starting to receive the support required in terms of expertise, human resources, training, supervision
and logistics; however, they are still fragile and insufficient. Ambulance services require urgent
improvement, for instance: in Macenta and other areas, confirmed and suspected patients are
transported in the same vehicle for long periods, potentially causing individuals who are not already
sick to become infected.
Awareness-raising, a key activity to help communities to adapt behaviour and reduce transmission,
remains very weak for an intervention that began eight months ago. These activities are unevenly
supported throughout the country and there is still a great deal of resistance towards the Ebola
response. Around Conakry, for example, there are still areas where MSF teams are not welcome.
Again, training for both local and international staff in safely leading these activities remains a major
constraint.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:07 pm 
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NOTES TO EDITORS
MSF’s strategy to control Ebola is organised into six elements: isolation and supportive medical care
for cases, including laboratory capacity to confirm infection; safe burial activities in case management
facilities and in communities; awareness-raising; alert and surveillance in the community; contact
tracing; and access to healthcare for non-Ebola patients, including protection of health facilities and
health workers. All of these elements are crucial for the epidemic to be brought under control quickly,
and training and material for healthcare workers are essential to ensuring that these activities are
carried out safely.
In Liberia, MSF is running a 240-bed Ebola case management centre (CMC) known as ELWA 3 in
Monrovia and is scaling down its CMC in Foya, in the east, as there have been no new cases since 30
October. In Monrovia, MSF has restarted a campaign for community health promoters to go door to
door, raising awareness about how to avoid infection. Beyond case management, the organisation has
distributed approximately 63,000 home protection and disinfection kits; are running a 10-bed transit
centre on the site of Redemption hospital to do triage and refer Ebola patients onwards to a CMC; and
have distributed anti-malarial medications to 551,971 people in densely populated areas of Monrovia.
This is to stem contamination of patients with fever (but not Ebola) in CMCs as well as to reduce the
incidence of fever related to malaria and mortality in children under five.
In Sierra Leone, MSF is operating approximately 160 beds for patients ill with Ebola: a 104-bed Ebola
CMC in Kailahun in the east of the country, and a 60-bed CMC in Bo. Because of the acute lack of
bed capacity in the country, MSF will soon be opening two more: one in Magburaka and another in
Freetown. At both existing sites, MSF is offering case management training for the Ministry of Health
(MOH) and other health actors looking to open case management facilities. It is also providing social
mobilisation and sensitisation training in communities and has trained over 750 health workers to
spread health promotion messages since July. Distributions of anti-malaria medication to 1.4 million
people and home protection and disinfection kits will begin in the coming days.
MSF is running two CMCs in Guinea: an 85-bed facility in the capital, Conakry, at Donka hospital
and a 99-bed facility in Guéckédou in the Forest region of Guinea. At both of these sites, the
organisation is training MOH medical staff so they can be deployed to transit facilities in other parts of
the country. MSF has also constructed a new transit centre in Forécariah for the MOH and a new CMC
in Macenta for the French Red Cross (FRC), which was officially handed over on 14 November. MSF
staff will continue to work with FRC colleagues until December to facilitate transfer of competencies
and investigation and health promotion activities in the area.
The organisation started an intervention in Mali on 24 October, just after the first case of Ebola was
confirmed in Kayes, in the north of the country. Later, when a new case was detected in Bamako on 11
November, MSF reinforced its team there and expanded activities to help stop the disease from
spreading further. MSF is now running a case management facility in collaboration with CNAM
(Mali’s national disease centre). The organisation is also training Malian staff from CNAM and the
MOH in the management of Ebola patients, while overseeing the organisation of an ambulance system
and safe burials.
MSF provided technical support to the Nigerian and Senegalese health authorities in areas including
isolation, contact tracing, training and public education. Both countries have since been declared free
of Ebola.
As an exceptional measure, the organisation will work with three research institutes to host trials of
three experimental treatments for Ebola in three of its CMCs in West Africa. These trials are planned
to begin as early as December.

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