The Project Management Team of UNDP’s Ebola Community Based Initiative in Montserrado County has said that mitigating measures were recently put into place in the Popo Beach Community in the wake of a new Ebola Outbreak.
News of the outbreak came following an investigation conducted by a team comprising two UNDP Project Management Supervisors-sponsored Community Based Initiative (CBI), Active Case Finders, Contact Tracers, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) in District 16, New Kru Town.
It was revealed that there were four clusters of Ebola cases associated with high fatality. According to the report, each of these four clusters had an independent index case. Active Case Finders were able to identify people who had direct contact with a man who was stabbed in the area in October this year.
Dr. Mosoko Fallah, Coordinator of the UNDP CBI project, said some residents had alleged that the lover of the man’s wife had stabbed her jilted husband in a rage of jealousy, and that everyone who had direct contact with the man’s body fluid was either dead or sick.
According to Dr. Fallah, it was discovered that eight persons who were believed to have had direct contact with the victim’s body fluids died, while twenty-eight persons from this web of contacts escaped to other communities, including Old Road, New Kru Town and Logan Town.
He narrated that the Team put into place mitigating measures by immediately identifying and visiting the locations and contacts of those involved and have alerted other Active Case Finders in Communities where escapees might be residing.
“We visited the homes of where the cases occurred and interviewed contacts and survivors. We noted with dismay that an entire cluster of households had been deserted and the contacts fled to different communities.”
Dr. Fallah also mentioned that meetings were arranged with Heads of households on Ebola awareness to alert them on the prevailing circumstances. He said efforts made by Active Case Finders to document and track most of the cases have contributed to a containment of the situation.
Dr. Fallah has, however, stressed the need, among other things, to intensify health promotion among dwellers in Popo Beach and the rest of New Kru Town, increase the number of Active Case Finders in proportion to the areas of coverage in Popo Beach and other areas of Montserrado, as well as develop and immediately implement a streamlined protocol for providing feedback to families when their relatives are taken away.
UNDP has allocated about USD$500,000 of its resources to support Liberia’s National Ebola Response, with a focus on Active Case Findings in Montserrado County. It is a strategic community-based initiative, which seeks to help identify, track and document Ebola related contacts, reduce denial, search for the sick, uncover hidden bodies, and increase awareness.
Under this Initiative, over 1,300 Active Case Finder’s volunteers have been recruited and trained to conduct Contact Tracing and Identification in 9 districts in Montserrado County, that are considered Ebola hotspots.
Additionally, 100 supervisors (50 community-level supervisors, 50 community based social support/counselling monitors) from the Dogliotti Medical School and Public Health Schools have been recruited. They are working under the general oversight of a coordinating team comprising of a team leader; epidemiologist; infectious disease specialist; psycho-social support specialist; health promotion/awareness specialist; M&E and IT specialists.
It complements on-going support being provided by UNICEF and Medicine Sans Frontieres (MSF) in the area of Social Mobilization in combating the deadly Ebola Virus.