6 Month Update: Response to the World’s Deadliest Ebola Epidemic

Ebola Airlift
Direct Relief-charter with 100 tons of emergency supplies for West Africa (Sept 2014)

Since the Ebola virus erupted in West Africa six months ago, Direct Relief has provided frontline health workers fighting to contain the outbreak with more than 140 tons of medical resources valued at $6.98 million (wholesale). In addition, Direct Relief is working with local medical staff and Ministries of Health to support the broader health system by strengthening the in-bound supply-chain and in-country distribution of medical resources.

Working in concert with these partners and local Ministries of Health, Direct Relief has identified sites in need of medical aid and has sent 19 emergency shipments supporting more than 600 facilities to date. Additional shipments of essential supplies are being prepared for health professionals in West Africa who are continuing their response to the outbreak.

Partners in Liberia

  • Africare
  • CDC Foundation
  • Christian Aid Ministries
  • ELWA Hospital
  • Last Mile Health
  • Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
  • National Drug Service

Partners in Sierra Leone

  • CDC Foundation
  • Medical Research Centre
  • Wellbody Alliance

Partners in Guinea

  • Ministry of Health

Partnering to Improve Outcomes

Though Direct Relief’s partners in West Africa had never encountered Ebola, they have been called upon to play central, critical roles in response efforts—they are among the best trained, most capable, deeply dedicated health professionals in the affected countries; countries with very few such trained personnel.

While these partners have had to refocus their efforts to combat the Ebola crisis, their important work that Direct Relief was supporting – training midwives in Sierra Leone, providing community health workers in Liberia – remains and will be even more important in the years ahead.

In addition to the strong non-governmental, corporate, and Ministry of Health partnerships, the organization is also working on three new Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitments to combat Ebola:

  • Protecting medical professionals: Direct Relief, in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Last Mile Health, and Wellbody Alliance have committed to work with the Ministries of Health in Sierra Leone and Liberia to effectively distribute personal protective equipment and medical supplies to clinics, health facilities, and hospitals.
  • Building lasting health infrastructure: A coalition of Direct Relief, Last Mile Health (Liberia), Partners in Health, and Wellbody Alliance (Sierra Leone) has been launched to scale up rural Ebola response efforts and rebuild health systems in the two most-affected countries.
  • Logistics and resource replenishment: Airlink, in partnership with Direct Relief and other aid agencies, has committed to establish and channel medical supplies through an airbridge (free delivery flights) to ensure Ebola-affected regions have the resources they need to curb Ebola’s deadly spread.

Mobilizing Resources

Direct Relief is uniquely positioned to not only mobilize medical resources from the U.S., but also to coordinate the receiving end of the deliveries in West Africa, in partnership with the Ebola Task Force and Ministries of Health. Direct Relief will also lend assistance in building the capacity of local responders and healthcare facilities on the ground to most effectively distribute aid. Direct Relief aims to continue providing essential items to address the Ebola crisis, in addition to helping restore the health system; bringing health workers back to work; and bringing patients back into facilities to receive care in West Africa.

Direct Relief’s near-term priorities include the following:

  • Modularize shipments specific to the 23 Ebola treatment facilities in both Liberia and Sierra Leone to ensure efficient in-country receiving and immediate delivery to the appropriate facility. This will help remove bottlenecks and enable more rapid and direct transportation of materials to the centers caring for patients with Ebola.
  • Help restock and resupply hospitals, health centers, and clinics to enable them to reopen by providing kits containing a stock of 35 essential items. These kits will be sent to hundreds of clinical sites around the country so they can reopen and begin seeing patients who have been unable to access care.
  • Provide 267 Midwife Kits to Liberia and Sierra Leone which will provide safe births for 13,350 moms and babies. In Sierra Leone alone, pre- and post-natal care visits are down 28%, and delivery with a skilled birth attendant is down 16%. Estimates show that maternal mortality may rise to 15% as a result of the Ebola crisis.

Scale, speed, efficiency, and precision are all integral pieces of the ongoing response to Ebola, and your support ensures Direct Relief is able to continue providing aid to protect health care workers and reduce the spread of the disease.

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