For the week of October 5th - 9th, the data released in the Government of Liberia’s’ (GoL) Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) reports show an increase in outreach by Contact Tracers.
Last week we reported over 10 different trainings that were happening around Liberia, many of which focused on training military and civilians in contact tracing. This is a key component of understanding the direction of the spread of the virus as well as enabling communities to slow its transmission rates. Contact tracing has been happening since day 1 of the Ebola outbreak, but the surge in cases that we have seen in recent months has overwhelmed the demand for contact tracers.
As more contacts are tracked, and as more labs are set-up we will see a shift in the data results. From this week’s data we see more cases of people testing positive for Ebola. These numbers don’t necessarily reflect an actual increase in the spread of the disease but rather the improvements that have been made in recent weeks to the reporting and testing systems in the country.
The Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Montserrado have begun reporting the list of patients in their centers. This may help to reach those who are currently being missed by contact tracers. As of October 11th, 3255 (98%) of 3297 contacts under follow-up in the county were seen by contact tracing teams. Out of these individuals being followed only 3 have so far become symptomatic and 183 people completed their 21 days of follow-up. This week there were 110 new deaths reported, 33 of these were reported outside the ETU’s.
In the Grand Cape Mount County a new holding center began construction. Cases of unsafe burial practices and a patient’s refusal to leave her children in order to be transferred to an ETU may indicate a need for more community engagement in this area. Of the individuals being followed by contact tracers 21 people completed their 21 day follow-up and one person became symptomatic.
Nimba county has seen a spike in vehicles being donated to help transfer patients, deliver supplies, and support burial teams, but poor roads are limiting access to certain areas like Tapitta. During the visit of Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, she donated two vehicles and other medical supplies, while Global Communities hired 9 vehicles, and UNHCR donated a bus and a pickup truck. Four of the people being monitored by contact teams became symptomatic and have been transferred to the new holding center in Ganta. Additionally, The Ebola Task Force is monitoring the town of Yalanz as a possible new hot spot.
There are two new vehicles to assist the disinfection and burial teams in Grand Kru and work has begun to fence off the Ebola Care Center there.
In Gbarpolu there is a need for more training and supplies. While in Bomi there are 14 patients waiting in a holding unit while the construction of the ETU continues.
In Bong County we have reports of 12 bodies being buried this week but no information on the state of the treatment centers or inputs of supplies.
The County Health and Social Welfare Team (CHSWT) in collaboration with WHO hosted a feedback meeting with the Sinoe district response teams to understand the response efforts county wide and gauge where to focus new energy. The task force also participated in the training of new Community Health Volunteers. The county received Protection and Sanitation equipment from Medical Teams International (MTI).
There have been reported complaints in both Grand Bassa and Margibi counties about the slow feedback about patients in the ETUs. This presents problems for the CHSWT on where to allocate resources and time.