To increase access to care for Ebola patients in Western Sierra Leone, which has been hit hard by the current outbreak, the international humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has opened new treatment centers (ETCs) in Freetown and Magburaka. The facility in Freetown, which has been set up at the centrally located Prince of Wales secondary school, was able to treat its first patients just fourteen days after starting construction. It has a current capacity of 44 beds, of which more than 50 percent are already filled. In Magburaka the treatment centre admitted two patients on its first day on December 15th. The plan is to gradually expand both locations to 100 beds in the next weeks.
The ETCs are just one example of MSF’s efforts to collaborate with Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Response Commitee to step up capacity hot spots and to respond to the increase in Ebola cases the country has witnessed over the last weeks. In addition, to its existing ETCs in Kailahun, Bo, Freetown and Magburaka, MSF plan to open another ETC in Kissi, Freetown, to be operational by the end of the month.
“With the increase in bed capacity by MSF and other actors, the next priority is to ensure positive cases are identified, tested and transported to the treatment centres in a timely manner. Currently, many Ebola patients are forced to remain in their communities, unable to access care and at risk of dying at home and infecting their families. We cannot afford to let transmission gain any further ground.”
Franking Frias, Medical Team Leader for MSF in Freetown.