Ebola continues to be a dangerous threat. The disease causes severe bleeding and organ failure and has an average fatality rate of 50%. During an outbreak in seven West African countries between 2014 and 2016, Ebola infected more than 28,000 people and claimed more than 11,000 lives.
In February 2021, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced a confirmed case of Ebola in North Kivu Province, which was soon followed by a confirmed case in the Republic of Guinea in N’Zérékoré Prefecture.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing a rapid response to help quickly control and end the outbreaks and strengthen Ebola preparedness across East and West Africa.
The USAID MTaPS Program is on the frontlines supporting USAID’s efforts to respond to Ebola. MTaPS has rolled out Ebola action plans in five countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. MTaPS is well positioned to provide this support due to its role since 2018 as USAID’s mechanism to support multisectoral coordination, infection prevention and control (IPC), and antimicrobial stewardship under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). MTaPS already has an on-the-ground presence and access to local technical expertise in these countries, both of which are vital to mobilizing a quick response to contain the outbreak.
Ebola Response Strategies
MTaPS’ response to the Ebola threat includes the following areas:
Infection Prevention and Control
Building on achievements from the fight against COVID-19 and on existing national and sub-national IPC coordination, technical groups, and global partnerships, such as with WHO and the CDC, MTaPS’ IPC support includes:
- Revising and updating the national Ebola response strategy, IPC guidelines, and job aids
- Developing and introducing Ebola IPC compliance monitoring tools
- Conducting IPC preparedness and practices assessments
- Providing direct technical assistance to health facilities, ports of entry, and communities
- Providing supportive supervision and improving performance
- Updating training materials, training trainers, and setting up cascade training of health care workers and communities, including e-learning options to ensure maximum safety of the trainees
MTaPS will also train laboratory focal staff on safe patient sample collection, handling, and referral while adhering to IPC standards.
MTaPS will provide training to public and private health facilities focusing on screening, identification, notification, and referral of suspected cases while adhering to IPC standards. This work will focus on setting up appropriate triage systems to prevent Ebola transmission between health workers and patients in the health facilities and to allow for early recognition and referral of suspected cases.
Vaccines and Therapeutics
MTaPS will provide support to improve both access to and the safety of vaccines and therapeutics. In terms of improving access, MTaPS will support national coordination and coaching of multidisciplinary teams to build capacity on quantification, logistics, and microplanning, as well as capacity to ensure appropriate storage and use of Ebola vaccines and treatments.
To improve safety, the program will build the capacity of national and health facility staff on adverse events identification, notification, analysis, and investigation in accordance with WHO guidance. MTaPS will train health workers on identifying and using reporting systems to report vaccine-related adverse events.
Risk Communications and Community Engagement
MTaPS will conduct situational analyses to identify gaps in Ebola risks communications and community knowledge and perceptions. The program will support the development and dissemination of Ebola risk communications and advocacy materials for use by health workers, health managers, and policy makers. Materials may include messages targeted to different audiences; guidance for individuals and families in the areas likely to be affected by Ebola; and communication materials for social mobilization and community engagement in potential transmission areas, including materials for use on social media, posters and other visual aids, and technical advocacy materials tailored to specific objectives.
For more information, contact:
Senior Principal Technical Advisor