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MSF has distributed 50,000 family protection and home disinfection kits in Monrovia

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  • MSF has distributed 50,000 family protection and home disinfection kits in Monrovia

    Comment: - I dearly hope that Liberian cases are decreasing as some reports have suggested. However, if this is indeed the case, I fail to understand why Liberia has its current media clampdown - I am sure Mme Sirleaf would want the successes shouted from the rooftops?

    Therefore I monitor more reliable sources such as the levels of activity being conducted by charity organisations e.g. MSF. Actions speak volumes.

    Published on 05 Nov 2014

    It’s five o’clock in the morning. Two MSF vehicles drive along the streets of Monrovia, Liberia, the country most affected by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Noley Smart and Emmanuel Tokpa, two Liberian MSF staff members, put on gloves in the darkness. This morning they will distribute around 1,000 family protection and home disinfection kits in West Point, one of the Monrovia’s slums. “We do it in the early morning so we avoid big crowds where people will be sweating and touching each other,” says Noley. “We go out every morning, wash our hands and boots before starting and try to make sure that people have no physical contact.”

    The two vehicles park next to a warehouse and the team jumps out. Inside are the stacks of the kits that they will distribute to hundreds of households. Since September, over 50,000 kits have been distributed, and MSF aims to deliver a total of 70,000, covering a target population of 245,000, in the coming weeks. The kits, which contain materials like chlorine, soap and protective gear, allow people to protect themselves in the event that their family members fall ill and they cannot get them to a healthcare facility.


    They tell people that the protection kit is not designed to allow people to provide medical care – it is an emergency solution for families with someone at home with symptoms, and for those who need to disinfect their home after a family member dies.

    Ambulances should be able to pick up everyone calling the emergency number, but the service is not working well,” says Anna Halford, who coordinates the distributions. “No one should be disinfecting their home without help, but unfortunately it is happening. This is an imperfect solution in a situation that is far from ideal.”

    It’s not only about beds. In Monrovia, the ambulance and referral system can’t cope with the situation and taxi drivers often refuse to carry passengers with symptoms. Contact tracing needs to be systematically implemented and body management remains a problem.

    “I used to get along with one of my neighbours. She contracted Ebola,” says Emmanuel, after the distribution. “Her boyfriend, father and mother got Ebola from her. When I was told she died I couldn’t believe it. Only her father survived. This is one of the reasons why I am here.”