Rapid assessment of Ebola infection prevention and control needs--six districts, Sierra Leone, October 2014

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Dec 12;63(49):1172-4.


As of October 31, 2014, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation had reported 3,854 laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) since the outbreak began in May 2014; 199 (5.2%) of these cases were among health care workers. Ebola infection prevention and control (IPC) measures are essential to interrupt Ebola virus transmission and protect the health workforce, a population that is disproportionately affected by Ebola because of its increased risk of exposure yet is essential to patient care required for outbreak control and maintenance of the country's health system at large. To rapidly identify existing IPC resources and high priority outbreak response needs, an assessment by CDC Ebola Response Team members was conducted in six of the 14 districts in Sierra Leone, consisting of health facility observations and structured interviews with key informants in facilities and government district health management offices. Health system gaps were identified in all six districts, including shortages or absence of trained health care staff, personal protective equipment (PPE), safe patient transport, and standardized IPC protocols. Based on rapid assessment findings and key stakeholder input, priority IPC actions were recommended. Progress has since been made in developing standard operating procedures, increasing laboratory and Ebola treatment capacity and training the health workforce. However, further system strengthening is needed. In particular, a successful Ebola outbreak response in Sierra Leone will require an increase in coordinated and comprehensive district-level IPC support to prevent ongoing Ebola virus transmission in household, patient transport, and health facility settings.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology
  • Time Factors