Liberia is the oldest republic in Africa, which experienced a long ruinous civil war and was involved in the rebellion in neighboring Sierra Leone throughout the 1990s. Nearly 250 000 people were killed and thousands were forced to flee their homes. The country remains very poor with its capital city left predominantly without electricity, and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic across the country.
In 2014, the Ebola virus plagued the country, which experienced over 300 new cases per week at its peak, and faced the highest recorded number of deaths in the region. The health system and social infrastructure is still very weak and the country is slowly beginning to recover from the devastation of the civil war and the Ebola epidemic.
Since fall 2014, WAHA International worked in Liberia as part of its cross-border response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). WAHA, in partnership with the Irish NGO GOAL and with funding from OFDA/USAID, set up Ebola treatment units in local hospitals, run the Voinjama Ebola treatment center and build the local health system’s capacity to respond to this and possible future epidemic outbreaks.
SEE PAST PROJECTS
Voinjama and Lofa County
Response to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak
WAHA established a temporary Ebola transit center at Tellewoyan Memorial Hospital in Voinjama until we opened an Ebola treatment center in Voinjama in north-eastern Liberia, near the border with Guinea. The unit served the population of Lofa County and patients from neighboring countries, and has a capacity of 20 beds, which can be expanded to 100 when necessary. WAHA run and managed the unit throughout 2015.
Trainings and rehabilitation to support health system
WAHA collaborated with the Liberian Ministry of Health to support the transition from Ebola treatment units to routine facility-based case management. As part of this strategy, we have set up, supplied, and equipped Triage and Isolation Units in the four designated referral hospitals, Tellewoyan Memorial, Curran Lutheran, Foya and Kolahun Hospitals, to serve as case management units. We also provided training and refresher training for health care workers (clinicians and non-clinicians) in the four referral hospitals on Infection Prevention Control (IPC), triage and Ebola case management.
Infection prevention in schools
We expanded activities to include supporting EVD infection prevention and control services in Voinjama district schools as they reopened. To improve prevention and control, WAHA carried out the following activities:
- Distribution of WASH equipment to schools,
- Capacity building and training of school staff on protocols of EVD prevention and referral,
- Designated EVD point persons in schools
- Social mobilization and community engagement to dispel misconceptions around EVD
Maternal health strengthening
In order to enhance the restoring of quality health services particularly for maternal and child care, we have rehabilitated four hospitals in Lofa County and provided basic essential supplies as well as strengthened the referral system.
Fistula Care activities
Since 2015 WAHA International is supporting quality fistula care services in Liberia. We are working with the Family Medical Center in Monrovia and are also supporting fistula care at Phebe Hospital in Bong County.