It has been nearly a year since the start of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia and there are finally signs of hope that the crisis might soon be over. The State of Emergency has been lifted as infection rates have dropped drastically, with only four confirmed cases last week and dozens of empty beds in treatment facilities. Schools are scheduled to re-open and life is gradually returning to its normal pace. This unexpected turn is due largely in part to local efforts to trace the disease, monitor contacts, educate and protect their communities from exposure. The cohesion and resilience communities demonstrated throughout the crisis, coupled with an intensified international response, has led to an earlier than expected recovery.
Furthermore, large-scale trials of two Ebola Vaccines that began in January have been halted due to a lack of patients. Though a set of tests will be done at a treatment center in Sierra Leone, it is unclear whether these drugs will prove effective in offering protection against the disease. Instead, Liberia will continue aggressive surveillance and contact tracing in an effort to stop the epidemic entirely.
Ebola cases as of Feb 2, 2015. Source: World Health Organization
Although signs remain optimistic, access to medical care for non-Ebola patients is still a major issue due to the collapse of the public health system. Therefore, as West Africa prepares to enter the next stage in the Ebola eradication process, our dedicated staff and volunteers in Liberia are continuing their efforts to support community health initiatives, supplying neighborhood clinics and keeping locals protected with sanitation materials.
After a successful fundraising campaign and a generous grant from GlobalGiving, we are fortunate to be able to provide services to communities in Monrovia and Lofa County for the majority of 2015.
Thank you GlobalGiving from our scholarship students in Liberia
To read about our efforts as well as the opinions and experiences of the epidemic from our dedicated students and staff in Liberia, check out our Winter 2015 issue of The Palavar Hut HERE!
Jenna Hammerslag, Media Coordinator, everyday gandhis