Find out more about Ebola, the deadly haemorrhagic
disease currently gripping West Africa

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  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Healthcare exclusion

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Ebola update 

August 28th 2014

Since the Ebola outbreak began in March in Guinea, it has claimed 1,427 lives. The outbreak has spread far beyond Guinea, and is now raging unabated. A total of four countries are now affected: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

Currently, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has 424 staff (74 international staff, 350 national staff) responding to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

In our case management centre in Kailahun, the number of admissions is lower than it should be (currently around 30-35 patients), which means that there are certainly people falling ill in the community and not reaching the centre.

The surveillance and alert system needs to be strengthened significantly to ensure all sick people can access care.

MSF has also trained around 700 community health workers to spread health promotion messages in their communities.

MSF case numbers since the outbreak began (as of 25th August) 

Admissions* - 348 | Confirmed - 226 | Recovered - 64

* Admissions include all suspected, probable and confirmed cases. 

Find out more about MSF's response to the Ebola outbreak

Background: 2013

This is an extract from our latest Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has begun reorienting its work to focus on improving medical care for children and its capacity for diagnosing Lassa fever.

More than a decade has passed since the end of the civil war, but Sierra Leone is still recovering.

Healthcare gaps

Healthcare gaps are systemic and nationwide, and access to quality healthcare remains a major challenge for the population.

Although the government initiative offering free healthcare to pregnant women and children is improving access, many people still die from treatable diseases such as malaria, measles, acute respiratory infection and Lassa fever, a viral haemorrhagic fever endemic in the country. 

Gondama referral centre

In Bo district, MSF runs the Gondama referral centre, a 220-bed hospital offering emergency paediatric and obstetric services.

In 2013, ambulances transported patients from nine community health centres to the hospital, and an additional ambulance service took patients with Lassa fever to Kenema hospital for treatment.

MSF also supports Gondama health centre, a nearby clinic run by the Ministry of Health, with staff, medicines and medical materials.

MSF plans to build a 160-bed hospital closer to Bo town that will provide better access for patients, staff and supplies.

The new, more spacious facility will also allow for better infection control protocols, and will include a proper isolation ward and a modern laboratory.

At the end of 2013, MSF had 619 staff in Sierra Leone. MSF has worked in the country since 1986.

Patient story

Jenneba, 26 years old

“This is my third pregnancy. I have had two miscarriages before. Last night I felt pain, so an ambulance picked me up from the health centre and took me to Gondama. The nurse in the ambulance held my hand and talked to me nicely during the ride.

The nurses at the hospital examined me and said that I wasn’t in labour yet. I am still in pain and very worried about what is happening. If I lose this baby, I am worried that my husband will leave me.”

Jenneba’s son was born by caesarean section 10 days later.

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