Ebola in Liberia - A Humanitarian Crisis

Why are we there?

  • Endemic/epidemic disease

  • Social violence/healthcare exclusion

Latest news

Ebola update

28th August 2014

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is rapidly scaling up its operations in Liberia as the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to be chaotic and entirely inadequate.

In its first week, MSF’s newest Ebola management centre – also known as ELWA3 – in the capital Monrovia, is already at capacity with 120 patients, and a further expansion is underway.

Meanwhile, in the north of the country, patients continue to flow into the newly rehabilitated Ebola management centre in Foya.

“It is simply unacceptable that, five months after the declaration of this Ebola outbreak, serious discussions are only starting now about international leadership and coordination ,” says Brice de le Vingne, MSF Director of Operations.

“Self-protection is occupying the entire focus of states that have the expertise and resources to make a dramatic difference in the affected countries. They can do more, so why don’t they?”The outbreak is spreading rapidly in Monrovia, overwhelming the few medical facilities accepting Ebola patients.

MSF case numbers (as of 25th August 2014)

Admissions* - 734 | Confirmed - 337 | Recovered - 74

* Admissions include all suspected, probable and confirmed cases. 

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

A woman reads a health promotion pamphlet about the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia's capital.

Our work

Background: 2012

This is an extract from our 2012 Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year. Prior to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, MSF had pulled out of the country after more than two decades of operations.

After more than two decades in Liberia, in 2012 Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) handed over the last of its programmes to the Ministry of Health.

The final programme provided treatment and counselling for victims of sexual violence in Monrovia. Since this project began in 2010, major emphasis was placed on training Ministry of Health staff to carry out services.

Between January and July, 644 patients received treatment: 12 percent of them were under four-years-of-age, 38 percent were aged between five  and 12 years and 41 per cent between 13 and 18 years. Only nine percent were adults. After a gradual handover of responsibilities, MSF withdrew in July.

Emergency operations

MSF ran emergency operations in response to the 14 years of civil conflict that raged until 2004. Teams also provided emergency healthcare for refugees from conflicts in neighbouring countries and improved access to health services more generally through the set-up and management of hospital projects in the capital Monrovia, as well as in remote areas.

As the emergency phase has passed, one by one these projects have been handed over to the Ministry of Health or to organisations that can take the work forward with a long-term development approach.

Related News & Publications