“We Stand as One” Conference call with Samaritan’s Purse and Others
Ebola Conference Call: Ebola Challenges, Supplies and Logistics
- To understand what the challenges are for health care professionals in Liberia
- To bring together relief organizations, other institutions and Liberians and create synergy in getting supplies or donations to Liberia.
- To promote collaborations between institutions and individuals in the fight against Ebola
- To obtain accurate information from happenings in Liberia in order to align supplies and donations to close gaps
- To create general awareness of the dire need for help
- To create a clearing house of institutions and organizations helping the Ebola effort and ensure transparency from donor to recipient.
Chris Johnston, Communications Manager, Samaritan’s Purse
- Samaritan’s Purse has sent doctors and medical supplies to Liberia and has been in the fight against Ebola. Two of their doctors were infected with the disease and brought to the States for treatment. Contac t Samaritan Purse at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/
Scott Lien, Executive Director, Global Health Ministries
- GHM has been in Liberia for 27 year, have sent air freight and shipped thousands of dollars of supplies to Liberia since the Ebola outbreak. Contact Global Health Ministries at www.ghm.org
Andy Perkins, Chairman of the Board, Bestwa
- Bestwa has been shipping nutrition supplies to Liberia for over 10 years. They operate in Nimba, Bassa and Rivercess. Contact Bestwa at www.bestwa.org
Dr. Mosoka Fallah: Epidemiologist in Liberia
Fayiah Tamba: Secretary General of the Liberian Red Cross (could not make the call due to communications problem)
Remember, it is easier to contact these guests through email@example.com. Due to the number of people on the call, this email account will serve as a filter so our guests are not inundated with emails that can be answered by the team.
Link to Audio transcript of the conference call: http://youtu.be/yHWyGzgAx-
FAQ with Relief Groups
I am a doctor (or have other doctors and nurses) who want to volunteer service in Liberia. Is that possible?
Samaritan Purse: Yes, we have done so in the past and will consider that on case by case basis. Feel free to connect with us through our website. Note: It will be faster to connect with Chris through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you pick up supplies from Liberians and organizations throughout the country?
Samaritan Purse: Container already scheduled to leave in 8-10 days. Samaritan is purchasing supplies from manufacturers and shipping out. Not expecting to send out containers right now although they will make decisions on a case by case basis. We also have ability to work with Liberians in the UK.
Bestwa: It depends on the size of the supplies and if it can be easily shipped to one of their warehouses across the country. Bestwa has containers currently en route to Liberia at ports in New Jersey, Tennessee, Houston, and Oregon; two of those containers with food packages.
Global Health Ministries: We are in the Mid-West (Minneapolis). If supplies are on the East Coast, we recommend other agencies like Samaritan’s Purse. If it is close to the Mid-West, they can contact GHM. We can also connect them to others entities that are shipping. It’s on a case by case basis so we encourage organizations and individuals to contact us so we can discuss.
Note: For faster connection to the guests, email email@example.com
Are there efforts to connect with major airlines or carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL so that Liberians could donate supplies?
- Our carriers helped us connect with SN Brussel via Air Canada but the cost of air freight is expensive
- The cost of 5 pallets is approximately $8,500
Can you ship supplies if the donor asks to deliver supplies to a specific area?
Global Health Ministries: Have had supplies that were targeted for specific areas but most of their supplies have been in Lofa, Montserrado and Bong Counties. It would be done on a case by case basis if the logistics can work out.
Bestwa: yes we can but Bestwa will have to evaluate the logistics of it. We will work with the donor to get supplies where they’re needed.
FAQ with Dr. Mosoka Fallah
How many burial teams do we have in Monrovia?
- Started with 2 burial teams and now 6 burial teams; however the burial teams have not been able to effectively bury the dead.
- Yesterday, there were 6 bodies in New Kru Town, bodies in Bensonville, there was a body in slipway and we couldn’t get all of the bodies around.
Why is it taking so long to respond despite the increase in burial teams?
- Most of the vehicles that are supposed to pick up the sick or bury the dead don’t leave early because they have to wait for hours to receive gasoline for the day.
- The case investigation team also needs to be out in the field. If they can’t go out due to gasoline issues, we lose valuable time.
- Such wait, plus the one hour it takes for the workers to get dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) does not help the system run efficiently.
- How many bodies can they remove from the community when the wait takes so many hours before they start work?
What are the challenges in the fight against Ebola?
- Delays in response time to pick up the sick and take them to treatment centers
- Delays in response time to pick up and bury the dead
- In some instances, the dead are staying three to four days with family before pickup
- In some instances it takes 2-3 days before the sick are picked up and taken to treatment centers
- These delays are counterproductive to the fight against Ebola, thus creating the environment where the disease could spread.
What part of the system is not working?
- Example, during a cursory research on the system, I observed statistics that there were 75 calls from the community for cases, but we were only responding to 22 of those calls.
- We are not responding adequately to all of the calls.
- In some instances, it is difficult to move sick people into treatment centers because the centers are full.
- The system is not synchronized or unified as yet and that needs to be addressed
What can be done?
- We should not only focus on the logistics of getting supplies, we should fix the system problems. For example, can we come up with a plan for vehicles to get fuel adequately? Can we get gas cards or slips for drivers to fill the cars every evening?
- Can organizations sponsor means to obtain gas. Can they help with vehicles?
- Can we provide body bags for one week instead of on a daily basis?
- Organizations and individuals should also consider helping with these system problems in addition to medical supplies.
- We need to shorten response time in order to reach sick people, remove them from the population and take them to treatment centers. Our inability to identify and swiftly remove sick people from the population will hamper our progress.
- We need to get the communities involved, we need to mobilize them
- It’s important to put community leaders together and empower them. Trends show that in other countries where the spread of Ebola have been broken, the main factor was community engagement and involvement
- Community leaders on active surveillance can find and report cases quickly
- Spread of Ebola in some communities in Lofa County have been reversed because of community involvement
- In some cases, workers are complaining that they don’t know their employment status, how much they’re getting paid.
- Drivers and workers are not confident in employment (status of contract or how much they will be paid)
- We need to help the drivers, the sprayers, the folks who are in the field daily with adequate pay and compensation
- We need more people in the field; those who have experience organizing communities can come and help the Ebola effort
What are some of the needs at the treatment centers?
- We need experts, hygienists and people with experience in disease control and prevention
- We need Liberians who are counselors, sociologists, psychologists to help change the perception and mindset of the public and victims.
How do you track mortality rates of Ebola vs Cholera and Malaria?
- We have all made errors (including myself). Our focus on Ebola has distracted us from catering to other diseases.
- It’s difficult to do because Liberia has lost a lot of health care workers to the virus
- Lack of adequate PPE keeps other health professionals away from hospitals and keeps them from dealing with the sick.
- An example: a healthcare worker did a rapid diagnostic testing (pricking the finger and drawing blood) on someone for malaria without using gloves; this physician assistant died, his wife died, three other persons died.
- There is widespread fear among healthcare workers in the absence of PPE
Why is it that people don’t believe Ebola exists?
- I was in West Point some time ago and people were jeering at me saying there is no Ebola although we counted 39 persons who dies in 30 days.
- This is not unique to Liberia. When there’s an outbreak, there is a tendency that people would not believe health reports.
- But as the disease progresses and people see the impact, those perceptions change
What can be done about this issue?
- Give feedback of lab results to family members so they can know that their family members died of Ebola
- Engage community leaders and convince them with information so they can bring their constituents on board. When the community starts to report strange deaths, it makes things easier.
- Use social media to create awareness and educate people.
What other items or supplies are needed in the fight against Ebola?
- Obtain list from MOH; Plastic aprons, disposable gowns, head gear, surgical masks, caps, rain boots, boot covers, body bag chlorine.
- We need infrared thermometers to prevent contact with potential sick patients. These are very important.
- Proper PPE will help reduce fear of healthcare workers
- Some health workers will not touch patients because of the absence of PPE, even if the patients do not show symptoms of Ebola.
Is it true that people have been using formaldehyde to purify wells?
- It has been ruled out as a lie. There is no evidence of such.
List Shared by Dr. Mosoka
6. spraying Can
9. Disinfectant (chlorine,)
10. Plastic Sheet
13. Linens/Bed sheets
14. IV Pole
15. Gentaviolet (G V)
16. Cord Tied
17. Waste Disposer Bag
19. Suction machine
29. Mosquitos nets
30. Infants Bed
32. Infrared thermometers
33. rain boots
34. head gears
Antibiotics———Adults &Peds (PO &IM)
Quinine ————-Adults &Peds (PO& IV)
Diclofanic———– (PO& IM)
Metronidazole ——-(PO& IV)
Compound Magnesium (Gas tablets)
Fluid (R/L, DNS,NS,D5W,)
Cipro ———- (PO&IV)
Oral rehydration Salt
Scalp vein Needles
Acknowledgements for Participating in/Promoting the Call
Union of Liberian Associations in America (ULAA)
European Federation of Liberian Association
Global Health Ministries
Dr. Mosoka Fallah, Epidemiologist fighting Ebola in Liberi
Friends of Liberia (FOL)
Grand Capemount County Association
Bong County Association
Lofa County Association
Nimba County Association (UNICCO)
Bassa County Association (UNIBOA)
Grand Gedeh County Association
Liberia Association, Sacramento
Liberia Association, Houston
Liberia Association, Dallas
Liberia Association, Nashville
Other Relief Organizations
Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta
Liberian Public Radio
Special thanks to Liberty Party and its leaders for initiating the need to bring Liberians in the Diaspora together on a conference call against Ebola. In the interest of creating a neutral and non-political atmosphere, I was asked to coordinate and moderate “We Stand as One against Ebola” campaign as an individual with anyone or group willing to help.
Philip B. Suah, Jr.
Coordinator/Moderator, “We Stand as One against Ebola” Campaign