“The Invisible Enemy” part three Liberia
Liberia, March 2015
With its expertise in logistics, WFP has beengiven the job of coordinating logistics for the entire humanitarian communityinvolved in the Ebola response through the logistics cluster. For example the WFP logistics team in Monrovia built four Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) as well as other units in other areas of the country. In Monrovia the grounds of the Samuel K. Doe Stadium were designated to host the ETU’s as well as the logistics cluster warehouse where items pertaining all the humanitarian players involved are stored, dispatched and managed by WFP.
With the confirmed cases steadily decreasing it was decided that WFP with support from the German Red Cross (DRK) and the German army would transform one ETU into a Severe Infection Temporary Treatment Unit (SITTU) to fill a gap in infectious disease care. The SITTU is designed to accept patients with symptoms consistent with EVD but not yet confirmed—an important gap to cover, given that much of the Liberian health system ceased providing non-Ebola related health services during the acute stages of the outbreak. A second ETU has been transformed into a major training center for new health workers that will be deployed around the entire country
The SITTU accepts both walk-ins and referrals from other health facilities. Once at the SITTU, patients who test positive for Ebola will be transferred to an ETU; patients who test negative will be treated for other infectious diseases. Those with no symptoms will be transferred to a health facility. The SITTU is intended to improve the level of clinical care for infectious non Ebola affected patients as well as reducing risk for non-Ebola affected patients who may otherwise seek care at an ETU.
In the photos:
1. The entrance of the SITTU
2. A child under treatment collects his lunch from a slide that ensures that there is no unnecessary contact between patients and health workers.
3. The Impressive logistics cluster warehouse managed for all agencies by WFP.
4. Workers gather for an early morning meeting to explain what needs to be done to prepare the base for the approaching rainy season.
5-6. Marie M. Kamara is a WFP staffer who operates and maintains the fork lifts at the logistics base.
7. Workers move supplies to prepare a raised flooring to prevent rain waters form wetting valuable material.
8. Outside the great storage tents workers are digging channels to allow the rainwaters to flow easily away during the rainy season.
Bomi County, Liberia
Tombekai village in Bomi County has a population of 124 persons. The village suffered from the deadly Ebola virus like many other villages in Liberia
According to the County Health Team and the villagers, three persons died from the virus in this village with just one female survivor, Miatta.
The livelihood of this village is farming which has been greatly hampered since the outbreak of the virus. During the early part of the outbreak, many of the villagers fled for fear of being quarantined. Eventually, all of the villagers returned to Tombekai thanks to WFP food intervention and because it was recommended by the County Health Team, Ministry of Health.
People from the village walked three hours to clinic in Beh Town which is the biggest town close by. Children are also starting resume school once the schools are declared safe and compliant to the Ebola prevention protocol enforced by the government with the support of the entire humanitarian community. The children in Tombekai that attend the Upper primary classes (4th to 6th grade) walk three hours every morning and three in the afternoon to get to school in Beh Town and back. Fortunately for the kindergarten and the lower primary classes its only about an hour walk to school.
In the photos:
9-10. Prevention and good health practices are the key to getting to zero cases.
11-13. Once the people have washed their hands and have had their temperature taken they are allowed into the distribution area four at a time where their registration is checked and they receive their food ration worth one month.
14. Nothing goes wasted, the children collect the plastic rings that seal the oil cans that WFP is distributing and make a fun game out of them.
15. Among the people in the village that got infected with Ebola Miatta (52) is the only survivor. After all that she has been going through Miatta still has an amazing smile and actively participates in helping organize the WFP food distribution to her fellow villagers.
Bomi County, Liberia
Vincent Ward Public School ,
This school is one of the 54 schools assisted by the WFP school meals programmes in Liberia. The programme currently targets 127,000 pupils in 10 of the 15 counties in Liberia.
Following the Ebola outbreak the government decided to close the schools as a preventive measure to avoid the transmission of the disease in the scholastic environment.
Now that the pandemic is under control the government has allowed the schools that are compliant with the protective measures to start reopening. Schools can begin opening over the period between 16 February to 2 March 2015
Current enrolment situation as at 9 March 2015 is of 290 pupils which is below the regular attendace rate for this school. Some parents are still fearful that it might be risky to send their kids back to school while other parents are registering their children.
Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
All photographs: WFP/Rein Skullerud