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February, 2016


Ebola: Information for the general public

To protect yourself, your family, and your community from Ebola virus disease transmission, immediately report to the nearest health facility, if you develop symptoms: high fever, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, or haemorrhaging. Isolation and professional clinical treatment increase a person’s chance of survival.

Marie Claire Mwanza, a social mobilization expert, in Guinea to support the Ebola outbreak response

WHO/P. Haughton

Ebola survivors

Stories and updates

Ebola: Infection prevention and control implementation and progress updates

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone inter-country meeting

Place: Monrovia, Liberia
Dates: 17-19 February 2016

The main objectives of the meeting are: to discuss the current status of infection prevention and control (IPC) and water, sanitation activities in health-care facilities in countries; to share strategic plans for IPC and WASH improvement in the context of health systems recovery for medium-/long-term objectives; to establish a mechanism for continuous sharing of IPC documents, tools and progress reports.

Meeting report

Related links

Caring for Ebola survivors: Supporting survivors to recover their lives and livelihoods

Today, there are over 10,000 survivors of Ebola virus disease. A number of medical problems have been reported in survivors, including mental health issues. Ebola virus may persist in some body fluids, including semen. Ebola survivors need comprehensive support for the medical and psychosocial challenges they face and also to minimize the risk of continued Ebola virus transmission.

Ebola survivors and their families should have access to the support they need to re-establish their livelihoods.

WHO/S. Gborie

WHO is providing assistance to survivors for medical, social and psychosocial issues, including in these areas:

  • WHO is developing a framework for essential care for Ebola survivors. This framework identifies care needs and provides a basis on which affected countries can develop primary health care and specialist referral care for survivors.
  • WHO has developed a guide on how to provide quality care to survivors of Ebola virus disease.
  • 20 survivor clinics, 4 referral clinics and 6 semen testing labs have been set up.
  • There are over 10,000 survivors in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone of whom approximately 4,500 Ebola survivors have been registered, allowing the delivery of health and other services to survivors.
  • Together with ministries of health and partners, WHO is providing semen testing services for Ebola survivors. Currently, more than 1,200 men are enrolled in screening programs. In addition to semen testing, these services also provide counselling, advice on safe sex and condom use, and information on water, sanitation and hygiene.

More information on survivors

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Ebola outbreak 2014 – present: How the outbreak and WHO's response unfolded

WHO’s response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa had 3 phases. Phase 1 focused on rapid scale-up of the response; phase 2 focused on increasing capacities, phase 3 focused on interrupting all remaining chains of Ebola transmission, and responding to the consequences of residual risks.

Map of Ebola cases in West Africa from January 2014 to December 2015.


Map of Ebola cases in West Africa from January 2014 to December 2015.

Phase 1: Rapid scale-up of the response

In Phase 1 (August – December 2014), WHO and its partners focused on rapid scale-up of the response. This included:

  • Increasing the number of Ebola treatment centres and patient beds.
  • Rapidly hiring and training teams in safe and dignified burials.
  • Strengthening social mobilization capacities.

Work in these areas began in August 2014, as the outbreak exploded, and continued through the end of December. During this period, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) was launched.

Phase 2: Increase capacities

In January 2015, WHO and its partners moved into Phase 2 (January – July 2015). In this phase, emphasis was placed on:

  • Increasing capacities for case finding.
  • Increasing capacities for contact tracing.
  • Community engagement.

Efforts in these areas, along with the beginning of an Ebola vaccine trial in Guinea, are credited with bringing the outbreak under control and driving case numbers and deaths from Ebola downward into the single digits.

WHO stresses that Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remain at risk of additional flare-ups in the coming months as the virus gradually clears from the survivor population. Strong surveillance and response systems will be critical in the months to come.

Phase 3: Interrupt transmission of Ebola virus

WHO and its partners are now in Phase 3 (August 2015 to mid-year 2016) with the overarching goal to interrupt all remaining chains of Ebola transmission. To do this, several objectives have been outlined and WHO and its partners are working towards the following outcomes:

  • Enhancing the rapid identification of all cases, deaths, and contacts.
  • Establishing and maintaining safe triage and health facilities.
  • Building multi-disciplinary rapid response teams at regional and zone levels in 3 countries.
  • Providing incentives for individuals and communities to comply with public health measures.
  • Engaging in chieftain-lead, community-owned local response activities.
  • Improving Ebola survivor engagement and support.
  • Ending human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus disease in the populations and communities of the affected countries.

To address these objectives, we need anthropologists, community engagement experts, social mobilizers, doctors and nurses, sanitation workers, and safe and dignified burial teams.

More about how we are addressing the challenges