In Liberia, the eHealth Africa (eHA) team provides vital ongoing support to the important work undertaken by the Government of Liberia and partners to contain the latest outbreak of Ebola in Magribi province.
eHA has a permanent team of health workers stationed there, who are backed by other rapid response teams that visit the province each day to support and relieve the hard working permanent staff members.
eHA provides four Ebola Case Investigators to the local Ebola Treatment Center around the clock, seven days a week. Contact tracing of Ebola and patient communication has reached new levels of efficiency through the use of applications developed earlier this year by eHA. These applications are called Sense Ebola Followup and Tag And Go (TAG).
High level visit to the TAG programme
In early July, the Liberian government’s chairman for Ebola case management Dr. Massaquoi and the Head of UNICEF, Mr. Sheldon Yett visited the TAG project. Both men were impressed with the efficiency of operations provided by the programme. They explored the results from the programme and verified that every patient in the Ebola Treatment Unit was successfully reached and entered into the TAG system in a timely fashion.
The Sense Ebola programme
Two members from eHA’s Information Systems Team work in the team, and manage the deployment of 22 team members as Contact Tracers in the region. They use mobile data capturing devices such as smartphones and tablets to track the spread of Ebola from the source person.
We also provide training in the use of eHA’s Sense Followup application. Currently, there are 140 people registered for contact tracing follow up.
Another contact tracing exercise is taking place in Montserrado, where a case was confirmed from a person in Magribi who visited his extended family before being admitted to the Ebola Treatment Unit. The result from the exercise was that 17 other contacts were recorded, and successfully reached via the Sense programme.
The Tag And Go application
During July, 29 patients passed through the local Ebola Treatment Unit, with all people recorded in eHA’s TAG application which records next of kin and basic contact information. When a patient is admitted, a member of the clinical team makes a phone call to establish a relationship with the patient’s next of kin. As the treatment continues, eHealth Africa’s Case Investigation Team uses the TAG application to send regular SMS updates to the patient’s family.
The ability to keep family regularly informed is ground-breaking in all of the Ebola work taking place, and makes all the difference in good relationships and high levels of trust between local communities and the health workers.