Ebola Response

CHAL Distributes Medical Supplies to Southeastern Liberia


In order to help control the spread of Ebola amongst the local population, the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL) in collaboration with partners received and distributed assorted medical supplies to southeastern Liberia.


The supplies included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including gowns, gloves, goggles, sprayer, large buckets and rain boots amongst others. These supplies are intended to combat the deadly Ebola virus that has killed over one thousand, eighty nine people in Liberia and still counting.


The medical supplies worth over twenty five thousand United States Dollars (US$25,000) and were distributed to over twelve (12) health facilities in Grand Bassa, Rivercess & Sinoe counties. Other counties covered included Grand Kru, Maryland, Rivergee & Grand Gedeh. Funding and materials for the training and medical supplies were provided by DIFAEM- Germany.


It was observed that CHAL is the first NGO since the outbreak of Ebola in the country to provide training and medical supplies to health facilities in the Southeast of Liberia. The demands of the Ebola outbreak have completely outstripped the Liberian government’s capacity to respond especially to counties in the southeast. This is evidenced of the fact that National Government is yet to provide training to Health Care Providers and sufficient medical supplies to counties in the southeast including Rivercess, Sinoe, and Grand Kru. Others are Rivergee, Maryland and Grand Gedeh.


It is worth noting that nearly all the health facilities in the southeast remain open but lack the necessary protective gears and drugs to respond to other common illnesses and this sometimes lead to those persons dying in the presence of health workers. This situation is astonishing and when the person dies, health workers are eager to know the cause of death by examining the dead and this takes days to the dismay of family members who feel that if medical attention was provided prior to death, their relative/s might have survived.


This situation points to the fact that health care providers are afraid of the deadly Ebola virus because they are unprotected. As we speak, over seven dozens of health care workers have died in Liberia alone. Are we going to leave other illnesses untreated as the result of the Ebola virus?


CHAL also trained over 77 health Care Providers in the proper use of the PPE and preventive measures. The day long training and distribution was graced by Grand Bassa County Representative Gabriel Smith and Sinoe County Development Superintendent Romeo Quieh. CHAL District Supervisors in these counties are involved in hygiene promotion and awareness on proper hand washing, the avoidance of killing and eating monkey, bat/ bush meat in an attempt to educate and sensitize the population on the dos and donts of Ebola virus.


Specifically, in Youbor Town, Konobo District in Grand Gedeh County, District Supervisors and their Field Officer were instrumental in explaining to the locals in their vernacular the danger of Ebola and how they can protect themselves against the killer disease. Tenneh Wesseh, a physically challenged mother of two children informed CHAL that since the virus Ebola hit Liberia, this is first of its kind for a local NGO to visit their town educating them on preventive measures. She admonished CHAL to continue in the fight against Ebola.


Our ten days tour ( 30 August – 8 September 2014) established that there is one ambulance in each of the counties which is not enough to cater to the growing population especially during these times of national health crisis. It is important to note that there is no testing center in the entire southeast thus making the fight against Ebola difficult.
Specimens from suspected Ebola patients in the southeast are taken to Monrovia and this takes weeks before results are disclosed. According to World Health Organization (WHO) about half of the region’s 3,500 Ebola cases are in Liberia, and nearly all of Liberia’s counties have confirmed cases of the deadly virus. The fatality rate in Liberia is amongst the highest at 58 percent, WHO disclosed.


Recommendations


If Ebola is to be eradicated, we emphasize with urgency and seriousness that government needs to do more in the fight especially by providing the necessary protective gears, medical supplies and by providing motivational package for Health Care Providers

More awareness is needed especially using media coverage and translating these messages to the various vernaculars through spot recordings on the local community radio stations and dramas


Ebola has ruined Liberia’s economy as there is no prize control and business people are using the situation to exploit the citizenry especially in rural Liberia, and there is the need for National Government to reduce the prizes on basic commodities like gasoline, transportation, and food items


The establishment of a testing and holding center in the southeast will be very helpful to the fight against Ebola