KfW supports Liberia in handling future epidemics

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New isolation ward protects medical staff and population from infection

As a reaction to the devastating Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015, KfW is now helping Liberia to be better prepared for any future epidemics. In cooperation with Welthungerhilfe, nine medical facilities have so far been built or rehabilitated to improve the healthcare system. This includes an isolation ward for a hospital in the southeast of the country that will better protect the medical staff and population from infection in the future.

Ebola was rampant in West Africa in 2014 and 2015. Due to the weak healthcare system, the virus spread quickly and cost more than 11,000 lives, including 4,800 Liberians. To prevent such high numbers of victims in the future, KfW has been working since 2015, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to increase the resilience of the population to epidemics. In addition to nine health stations and clinics, there are also programmes to improve hygiene at schools and markets in order to prevent further infections.

KfW is providing a total of EUR 5 million for the Ebola support programme, which is being implemented by Welthungerhilfe. The isolation ward that was recently opened is the largest single project, with a volume of EUR 620,000. It is situated on the premises of a large hospital and includes ten isolation rooms where Ebola patients would be housed. A triage unit is also part of the station. In this small building at the entrance, a decision is made about whether the patient is brought to the isolation ward or sent to the regular hospital, depending on the severity of the illness. The dead which could still be infectious are laid out in the new mortuary. The project also includes a generator to ensure a reliable supply of electricity, a waste disposal system and measures for surface drainage.