Trends from this weeks’ report indicate that the country is embracing the World Health Organizations’ (WHO) call for greater data mapping in an effort to stop the transmission of the virus in 6-9 months.
We are now seeing reports that include statistics from areas outside of Monrovia including Lofa, Nimba, Bomi and Bong Counties. In addition, the report also includes data on the number of ‘Contacts’ (i.e. persons who are under 21 day surveillance after having come into contact with an infected person) and those who have completed the 21 day surveillance period for Montserrado County – Liberia’s oldest and most populous county (estimated at 1.1 million people in 2008) houses the capital, Monrovia, and the GoL.
This data collection is in its infancy and is yet sporadic, but could yield some insight into how the virus is spreading, and also into the effectiveness of the efforts to contain it.
At the beginning of the week, Montserrado reported having four Contact Tracing Teams who followed up with 98% of the Contacts (1,828 people). As you can see from the graph below, the number of contacts rose by 23% over the course of the week, and the Follow Up Rate did not keep pace with this.
The Red Cross made available 12 Contact Tracers that will be assigned in New Kru Town, just outside of Monrovia, where there is an increase of more than 300 Contacts. In addition, 30 volunteers from SEARCH, a local NGO, were trained in contact tracing. As the number of Contacts escalates, there is an increased need for Tracers, and we welcome the opportunity to speak to those in the international donor community who would be interested in assisting.
We were also able to get some data on the number of reported deaths this week from five counties: Bong, Bomi, Lofa, Montserrado, and Nimba. Montserrado County, which holds the capital city of Monroiva is reporting the highest number of deaths.
The hand-over of an Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU) took place in Bong County this week, where County Authorities and the County Health Team accepted the newly completed facility from Save The Children and the International Medical Corp.
This week, the President Obama announced that the United States is committed to a total of $750 million and 3,000 troops, including engineers, medical and security personnel to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Called Operation United Assistance, the commitment also includes 10,000 units of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those at the forefront of the epidemic.
President Obama referred to the outbreak as a growing threat to global security threat, as the numbers continue to rise.
Major General Darryl A. Williams will take command of the US Army: Africa position to lead this unprecedented US military intervention in an infectious site. This highly decorated and experienced General landed in Monrovia where he held discussions with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.