MSF reaction to Sierra Leone '4-day lockdown' plan

from Médecins Sans Frontières
Published on 06 Sep 2014

In case you are interested, the MSF teams responding to Ebola in West Africa have some concerns about the proposed 4-day 'lockdown' recently announced by the government of Sierra Leone. Below a few pointers from us on why we think this is not the appropriate answer to the current outbreak.

It will be extremely difficult for health workers to accurately identify cases through door-to-door screening as this requires a certain level of expertise.

But critically, even when potential patients are identified, there will not be enough Ebola management centres to care for them. Without a place to take suspected cases - to screen and treat them - the approach cannot work.

It has been our experience that lockdowns and quarantines do not help control Ebola as they end up driving people underground and jeopardising the trust between people and health providers. This leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further.

Without enough beds to care for patients who have Ebola we will fail to stop it spreading. What Sierra Leone and Liberia both urgently need are more beds in case management centres, and they need them now.

MSF’s teams in West Africa are overwhelmed by the number of Ebola patients that need medical care. We have been warning for months that other organisations and states have to join the fight to contain the outbreak. Earlier this week we called on states with biological response capabilities to urgently send teams to West Africa. This remains our best hope of bringing this deadly outbreak under control as quickly as possible.‎

To organise interviews with MSF teams on the ground treating Ebola patients across West Africa please contact - she is in Monrovia and best contacted by email. Alternatively you can call Polly Markandya in London on 079 666 777 25