Even though the cases of Ebola are now starting to drop off in West Africa, many people are still becoming sick, health systems and economies have been devastated, and families are struggling.
HPIC began emergency operations for Ebola in June. Since then we have provided 5 major shipments of medical relief to three main partner organizations on the ground. A 6th shipment is slated for airlift this week to Sierra Leone.
“These shipments include 26 Physician Travel Packs, desperately needed skids of protective equipment and disinfectant supplies and bulk essential medicines,” says Alexandra Wilson, HPIC’s emergency response manager. “We have also facilitated the donation of 65 portable heart monitors to help Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health rebuild its weakened health system.”
HPIC’s latest provision of medical relief for Ebola is going to International Medical Corps (IMC), which is operating three Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone and Liberia. These centres offer access to care for 1.5 million people.
In a report to HPIC, IMC related the story of a Liberian scrub nurse named Comfort. She became infected with the “nurse killer” at work: Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Liberia. She was terrified. Five of her fellow nurses had already died of Ebola. When she arrived at International Medical Corps’ Ebola Treatment Center, just a couple of kilometres away, Comfort was certain she too wouldn’t survive. She kept thinking, “Ebola kills and there is no medicine for it.” She was right. But Treatment Centers can save about 40% of their patients by controlling blood pressure and with hydration and nourishment. Today, Comfort is one of our many success stories. She is working for International Medical Corps as a nurse, at the Center that saved her.
To date, it is estimated that HPIC has provided almost 25,000 treatments of medicine to people like Comfort. We have also provided medical supplies to help contain the virus and limit transmission.
As of February 1, the World Health Organization reported a total of 22,479 suspected cases and 8,974 deaths, though the WHO believes that this substantially understates the magnitude of the outbreak.
“Thank you to all our partners in mission and to our donors who make it possible for HPIC to provide much needed medical relief to fight Ebola,” says Glen Shepherd, HPIC’s president. “The world has to remain vigilant in order to contain this killer. We thank all our donors who are sticking with us over many months to provide this critical support to West Africa.”