Why are we there?

  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Health care exclusion

Ebola update

August 28, 2014

Since the Ebola outbreak began in March in Guinea, it has claimed 2,097 lives (as of September 5). The outbreak has spread far beyond Guinea, and is now raging unabated. A total of four countries are now affected: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

Currently, MSF has 424 staff (74 international staff, 350 national staff) responding to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

In our case management center in Kailahun, the number of admissions is lower than it should be (currently around 30-35 patients), which means that there are certainly people falling ill in the community and not reaching the center.

The surveillance and alert system needs to be strengthened significantly to ensure all sick people can access care.

MSF has also trained around 700 community health workers to spread health promotion messages in their communities.

Our work

This is an extract MSF's 2013 International Activity Report:

MSF has begun reorienting its work to focus on improving medical care for children and its capacity for diagnosing Lassa fever.

More than a decade has passed since the end of the civil war, but Sierra Leone is still recovering. Healthcare gaps are systemic and nationwide, and access to quality healthcare remains a major challenge for the population. Although the government initiative offering free healthcare to pregnant women and children is improving access, many people still die from treatable diseases such as malaria, measles, acute respiratory infection, and Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever endemic in the country.

In Bo district, MSF runs the Gondama referral center, a 220-bed hospital offering emergency pediatric and obstetric services. In 2013, ambulances transported patients from nine community health centers to the hospital, and an additional ambulance service took patients with Lassa fever to Kenema hospital for treatment. MSF also supports Gondama health center, a nearby clinic run by the Ministry of Health, with staff, medicines, and medical materials.

MSF plans to build a 160-bed hospital closer to Bo town that will provide better access for patients, staff, and supplies. The new, more spacious facility will also allow for better infection control protocols, and will include a proper isolation ward and a modern laboratory.

An MSF doctor examines a malnourished child at the Gondama Referral Center, Bo. © Juan Carlos Tomasi

At the end of 2013, MSF had 619 staff in Sierra Leone. MSF has worked in the country since 1986.

Patient story

Jenneba, 26 years old

“This is my third pregnancy. I have had two miscarriages before. Last night I felt pain, so an ambulance picked me up from the health center and took me to Gondama. The nurse in the ambulance held my hand and talked to me nicely during the ride.

The nurses at the hospital examined me and said that I wasn’t in labor yet. I am still in pain and very worried about what is happening. If I lose this baby, I am worried that my husband will leave me.”

Jenneba’s son was born by caesarean section 10 days later.