Support to National Ebola Prevention and Preparedness in The Gambia
Since March 2014, West Africa has been confronted with an unprecedented Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. Despite all efforts made by Governments of the affected countries, and the International Community, the epidemic continues to claim many victims. To prevent further spread of the epidemic, countries are being supported to develop and finalize their preparedness plans for appropriate response in case of an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.
The Gambia has a population of 1.88 million people, of which 51 percent are female, while over 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25 years. The GDP per capita is US$540 and almost half the population (48.40 percent) is poor. The country is surrounded by the Republic of Senegal on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Even though The Gambia has nine designated official points of entry (POEs), there are wide areas which are porous and difficult to monitor. The country also has long standing socio-economic links with the EVD affected countries, especially with the Republic of Guinea and Sierra Leone. As a result, The Gambia is presently categorized among the high-risk unaffected countries as per the WHO Ebola Response Road Map of 28 August 2014. In this context, focus is on strengthening preparedness to rapidly detect and respond to possible EVD exposure.
The Ministry of Health & Social Welfare developed a plan in April 2014 to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated preparedness and response to Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, with a focus on a) strengthening coordination at the National and Regional levels, b) intensifying active surveillance, c) prompt case management, effective infection prevention and control, and d) advocacy, communication and social mobilization. An Activity Plan was developed in August 2014 following the Accra Special Emergency Inter-ministerial Meeting in July 2014 and recommendations based on the WHO Ebola Response Road Map of August 2014.
- National coordination and surveillance structure for Ebola exist. The national Task force meets regularly to discuss progress on project implementation
- The project has procured 16 computers, three printers, two scanners and basic office equipment for the central coordination unit in order to support the establishment of the central emergency command centre.
- Three ambulances for three centres, four burial vehicles for two teams and twenty motorcycles for surveillance officers procured
- 57 participants from all the regions attended a five days Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop. It focused on training methodologies and consultations with regional public health officials and regional facilitators on “Effective Coordination of national Ebola efforts” using the Omnibus methodology in accordance with International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).
- 10 drama groups (100 people) and 110 traditional communicators that will assure communities in all seven regions are well informed and sensitized on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) prevention and preparedness
- 80 surveillance officers and health staff were trained on the use of adopted EVD surveillance techniques and early detection respectively
Funding of US$ 1,600,000 was received from the Japanese Government, while UNDP contributed $60,000