Finally Ebola free, Liberia now faces a different outbreak
Liberia, one of Africa’s countries hit hardest by the outbreak of Ebola, is now Ebola free. From the beginning of Ebola until the disease breathed its last, Liberia turned the focus of its entire healthcare system on defeating the outbreak. The country rose to the challenge, throwing the collective efforts of its government and non-government organization partners into the battle. After the country arose victorious against the disease, Liberia was left with an exhausted healthcare system and a new outbreak to battle: measles.
The country’s healthcare system took a huge hit during the Ebola crisis, leaving thousands of children unable to receive routine vaccinations in 2014. Within the past six months, nearly 700 confirmed measles cases have been reported in Liberia.
The country took immediate action in response to the measles outbreak by announcing a nationwide integrated measles and polio vaccination campaign. The campaign commenced on May 8th, 2015. eHealth Africa, alongside UNICEF and the WHO, created strategies and set out across the country to vaccinate as many children as possible during the week long campaign. Depending on what their age allowed, children reached by the campaign were administered measles vaccinations, Oral Polio Vaccinations (OPV), and in addition a Mebendazole tablet prescribed for worms.
eHealth Africa (eHA) specifically contributed to the campaign by providing support through micro-planning, supplies transportation and logistics, social mobilization, monitoring and campaign evaluation. eHA also ensured that motorbikes being used to transport vaccinations to hard-to-reach rural areas were fueledand ready to complete the task at hand.
Because of the master plan and strategy created and implemented by participating organizations, the outcome of the campaign was astounding and exceeded all expectations. Surpassing earlier predictions, the campaign allowed for nearly 800,000 people to receive life-saving vaccinations.
Numbers from the campaign report:
- Total number of children vaccinated for polio through OPV: 689,754 (101%)
- Total number of children vaccinated for measles: 598,251 (98%)
- Total number of children who received the Mebendazole tablet for worms: 515,419 (99%)