MSF Opens New Ebola Treatment Centers in Sierra Leone to Increase Access to Care

Anna Surinyach/MSF

To increase access to care for Ebola patients in western Sierra Leone, which has been hit hard by the current outbreak, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has opened new treatment centers (ETCs) in Freetown and Magburaka.

The facility in Freetown, which was set up at the centrally located Prince of Wales secondary school, treated its first patients just 14 days after construction began. It currently has a capacity of 44 beds, half of which are already filled.

In Magburaka, the treatment center admitted two patients on December 15. The plan is to gradually expand both locations to 100 beds in the coming weeks.

The ETCs are just one example of MSF's efforts to collaborate with Sierra Leone's National Ebola Response Commitee to step up capacity in hot spots and to respond to the increase in Ebola cases the country has witnessed over the last weeks. In addition, to its existing ETCs in Kailahun, Bo, Freetown and Magburaka, MSF plans to open another ETC in Kissi, Freetown, to be operational by the end of the month.

“With the increase in bed capacity by MSF and other actors, the next priority is to ensure positive cases are identified, tested and transported to the treatment centers in a timely manner,” says Franking Frias, MSF’s medical team leader in Freetown. “Currently, many Ebola patients are forced to remain in their communities, unable to access care and at risk of dying at home and infecting their families. We cannot afford to let transmission gain any further ground.”

Medical workers walk towards their patients in the high-risk zone at MSF's Ebola treatment center in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Anna Surinyach/MSF