This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2016 International Activity Report.
Sierra Leone was finally declared Ebola-free on March 17, 2016, but the country struggled to rebuild its shattered health system. Access to medical care was already limited before the epidemic, and an estimated 10 percent of the country’s health professionals were among the 3,950 people killed by the virus.
The Ebola survivors’ clinic, opened by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in July 2015 to help patients with complications, was handed over to the Ministry of Health (MOH) at the end of September 2016. The clinic provided medical treatment and mental health care to more than 400 survivors and their families, and also promoted safe sex and malaria prevention. When survivors reported experiencing stigma, MSF sent health promoters to educate their communities about the disease.
Sierra Leone had some of the worst health indicators even before the Ebola epidemic, especially for maternal and child mortality. In Tonkolili district, MSF supported the pediatric and maternity wards, neonatal services, and blood transfusion laboratory at Magburaka district hospital and assisted the Magburaka mother and child health post with staff and supplies. MSF provided emergency obstetric care in a community health center in Yoni Chiefdom, Hinistas. Teams conducted 21,180 outpatient and 6,245 antenatal consultations, admitted 2,996 children to the pediatric ward, and assisted 1,457 deliveries.
MSF launched a project in Koinadugu in April, rehabilitating Kabala hospital, growing the pediatric ward from 15 to 45 beds, and creating a three-bed neonatal ward. Teams provided care to 1,185 pregnant women, assisted 783 deliveries, including 111 Caesarean sections, and registered 1,240 people for family planning. The project also provided health care to Ebola survivors, and screening for malaria and HIV. Teams monitored the nutrition situation and responded to emergencies and disease outbreaks. In May, 65,159 children were vaccinated against measles.
March 17, 2016
On March 17, 2016, Sierra Leone was declared free of Ebola for the second time. The first outbreak in Sierra Leone was declared to have ended on November 7, 2015, but a confirmed death was reported on January 14 and an additional case was identified on January 20.
Vigilance and ability to respond quickly to new possible cases must be maintained. Flare-ups after the end of the epidemic remain a possibility. MSF will maintain an emergency response capacity in the country.
MSF developed activities to treat people who suffered from the virus and continue to provide medical and psychosocial services to some of the country’s 4,000 Ebola survivors in Freetown and Tonkolili District. Non-Ebola health activities in several districts of the country (Kabala, Magburaka, Kenema) have started, as many components of the health system need to be strengthened.