UNICEF-Liberia Ebola Virus Disease: SitRep #47, 15 August 2014
The Ebola epidemic is fast creating a humanitarian crisis in Liberia. Functioning health facilities are limited throughout the country, government services have drawn-down and prices, especially of food, are rising. Liberia is officially in a State of Emergency.
Lofa County is now quarantined with movement in and out for essential services only. Additional movement restrictions are being considered in various areas.
The infection trend is still upward. This week saw the largest number of cases in one week – 1 232 new suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola were reported in Liberia.
The epidemic is spreading across the country. Two more counties have suspected cases. Seventysix (76) per cent of the new cases were reported in Lofa and Montserrado Counties.
With these additional cases, as of 13 August, the cumulative number of suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases reported during Outbreak #22 stood at 778.3
As part of the epidemic and also associated with the health system collapse is the high number of infected health workers – currently there is a cumulative total of 88 suspected, probable and confirmed cases.
In the past week, the number of Ebola patients in the Ebola Treatment Units nearly tripled, rising from 61 on 6 August, to 175 on 13 August. Expansions are underway of the Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) at Foya Borma Hospital in Lofa County and ELWA Hospital in Monsterrado County. The latter will be the largest Ebola Treatment Unit in history. However, the rate of admissions in the last few days strongly indicates that even the expanded units will be overwhelmed.
Plans are under way to establish a third ETU in Bong County, as well as a number of community based mid-level isolation centres in Monrovia.
UNICEF has significantly scaled up its Ebola response plan, which now covers the period from July to December. The total budget for this plan is US$ 6 million, and the current funding gap is US$ 5 million. Support is urgently needed to implement and sustain the plan in the medium- to long-term.
A UN Appeal was launched on Thursday 14 August, with UNICEF’s contributions amounting to the US$ 6 million referred to above.
Over the past week, UNICEF assisted the MoHSW and partners with two stakeholder meetings for community leaders in Montserrado County; conducted refresher trainings for 100 UNICEF-supported “animators” engaged in Ebola outreach in Montserrado County; and led an Ebola awareness training for a group of influential Liberians seeking to assist in the Ebola response. The agency also donated additional chlorine, medical cots and tarpaulins for use in ETUs; and laptops and office equipment to support the MoHSW in the Ebola response.