A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Since December 2013, some West African countries have been facing a major outbreak due to Ebola virus disease. The outbreak first occurred in some southern rural localities of Guinea. The outbreak then spread into urban cities including Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. Along 2014, and given many factors including the movement of populations between regions and countries, the Ebola outbreak affected 5 additional West African countries which are: Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and Mali. The outbreak is still active in the first three affected countries with a huge number of cases and deaths at the end of November. While Senegal and Nigeria have been declared countries free of Ebola by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In Mali the last affected country, the situation seemed to be under control for the time being given the available epidemiological data. Indeed, since the first declared case on 24 October, a total number of 8 cases with 6 deaths were reported in early December 2014. Out of the total 8 cases, 7 were confirmed positive to Ebola virus, while the last case was probable. In terms of contacts, by 1 December 2014, a total number of 247 contacts were followed by CDC, WHO and Mali MoH technical teams. The last survivor was discharged from hospital on 6 December, and as no further case was detected, Mali was declared Ebola free country on 18 January 2015. It is worth mentioning that Mali experienced some fears related to the religious festival of Maouloud (birth and baptism of the Holy Prophet Mohamed), which took place from 3 to 11 January 2015. During that period, hundreds of thousands of people conversed on Mali from all over Islamic West Africa. Some additional measures were therefore taken to control the borders and screen people for fever and other symptoms. Nevertheless, since Guinea where the infection for Mali originated from is not yet free from EVD, it is imperative to remain vigilant through prevention measures and well prepared for any further outbreak in Mali. Therefore, this grant from the Ebola Preparedness Fund (EPF) will help in supporting activities planned by the national society to keep itself abreast against EVD in Mali.
Summary of the current response
In terms of organization of the response, the main organizations involved and their major axes of intervention are as follow:
- WHO: in charge of the global coordination of the response, contact tracing
- CDC: in charge of contact tracing and epidemiological data management
- UNICEF: in charge of social mobilization coordination
- Mali Red Cross: social mobilization, contact tracing and Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB)
- Mali Ministry of Health: management and coordination of above-mentioned activities in collaboration with technical partners
In terms of coverage, out of the 8 regions of Mali, the Ebola Preparedness of the outbreak will be mainly focusing on 4 regions namely the ones bordering with Guinea: Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso and Bamako. In those regions, Mali Red Cross has already trained around 580 volunteers specifically in social mobilization and contact tracing. Some of those volunteers have started social mobilization activities and contact tracing in some communities in the region of Kayes. But from information gathered in the field so far, it appeared that many gaps in terms of coverage and quality of interventions still exist. And given the still active outbreak in Guinea, those gaps need to be addressed in an urgent manner.