Monrovia, 17 Sep – MapAction has deployed a team of two volunteers and its Chief Executive to Monrovia in response to the Ebola outbreak which has spread across West Africa. The team will be working in partnership with the United Nations and International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP) to help coordinate the national and international response to this medical emergency.
As of 7 September, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the total number of probable, confirmed and suspected cases in West Africa stood at 4,366, with 2,218 deaths across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Of these countries, Liberia has been particularly hard-hit.
The demand for treatment far outstrips the medical facilities currently available. Anecdotal reports indicate that as soon as an Ebola treatment centre is opened, more patients arrive than can be treated. WHO staff have confirmed there are currently no free beds for Ebola treatment anywhere in Liberia. When patients are turned away from treatment centres, they have no choice but to return to their communities and homes, where they risk infecting others and perpetuating the spread of the virus.
Liz Hughes, MapAction’s Chief Executive, commented: “There can be no doubt: the spread of Ebola is a humanitarian emergency of the highest order. MapAction is working with strategic partners to ensure there is a concerted and coordinated response to this virus that has already tragically claimed so many lives. The situation on the ground is extremely complex. MapAction will provide its unique surge mapping expertise to help responders understand the needs of affected communities, so they can target their response effectively.”
This is MapAction’s first emergency deployment to Liberia, although it provided specialist training in mapping health priorities for Merlin in 2005.