The international medical organization, Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has handed over the ELWA-3 Ebola management center in Monrovia to the Incident Management System (IMS) through the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry will run the facility as a temporary Ebola management center, the aid agency said.
The closure and subsequent decontamination of ELWA 3 on March 25 was due to the decreased number of Ebola cases in Liberia. Currently the facility has 30 beds with a capacity to increase to 60 beds should the need arises. Coinciding with the handover ceremony, MSF made a donation of assorted medical and non-medical items, including an ambulance and another vehicle to the Ministry of Health.
“Today is a day full of emotion for the MSF movement,” says Mariateresa Cacciapuoti, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Liberia. “ELWA3 has been the symbol of a long and incredibly difficult battle against Ebola.”
With a capacity of 250 beds at the peak of the outbreak in September and October 2014, ELWA 3 was the largest Ebola management center ever built.
Currently in Liberia there are no confirmed Ebola patients but the handover of ELWA3 to the Liberian Ministry of Health does not represent the end of MSF’s engagement in Liberia, nor against Ebola.
“We know that we have not reached the end of the fight against Ebola in Liberia while the virus lives on in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the positive results Liberia has achieved in turning the tide against the virus,” says Caccipuoti.
“We must adapt our operations to the evolution of the context,” continues Cacciapuoti. “We continue to be vigilant and ready to respond in case the number of Ebola cases rises again. Meanwhile MSF is reinforcing and supporting access to medical care for non-Ebola patients, which is crucial to restore the health system.”
On March 23, 2015, MSF officially opened a free-of-charge 46-bed pediatric hospital in the municipality of Gardnersville, Monrovia that will increase up to 100 beds.
Since February 2015, MSF also runs a survivor clinic providing care to patients who recovered from Ebola. In addition to care for possible after-effects of the disease, the clinic also offers access to primary healthcare for these patients, who often face stigma and fear when seeking care in non-Ebola healthcare structures.
MSF recently concluded emergency preparedness training in rapid isolation and treatment of Ebola (RITE) for county health teams in Bomi, Nimba, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado counties.
MSF also supported 17 health facilities in Monrovia, training their staff on infection prevention and control. A team also supported the pediatric and maternal services in James Davis Junior Memorial (JDJ Hospital) in Neezoe community, Monrovia.
Since its opening on 17 August 2014 until 10 March, a total of 1917 patients were admitted to ELWA 3, of which 1234 tested positive for Ebola. Of these confirmed patients, a total of 801 died and 512 recovered.