The fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease has been an uphill battle for the Government and people of Liberia, including international partners, with no new cases reported since the death of the last Ebola victim, Madam Ruth Tugbeh late March in a Chinese constructed Ebola Treatment Unit in Paynesville, suburb of Monrovia.
Health authorities here say the cause of the last transmission of the virus is yet to be established, something, which has prompted a new organization, EHealth Africa, to launch a new strategy that cut off the virus from Montserrado and other parts of the country.
EHealth Africa on Monday, 27 April launched Trace and Go or TAG, for short in Monrovia at the LIBTECO building on 18th Street, Sinkor bringing together government officials, health experts, including the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and other collaborative partners.
TAG is a campaign by EHealth Africa in collaboration with the government to form partnership and dialogue between suspected Ebola patients or survivors and health workers by building close ties within the two parties and also enabling family members to keep in contact with infected relatives inside ETUs.
Speaking at the launch, EHealth Africa Country Director, Mr. Dave Ausdemore, said Trace and Go is the most successful strategy that allows loved ones or family members to know what is happening to their people when they are admitted in the Ebola Treatment Unit.
Mr. Ausdemore stressed that this is the practice in combating the Ebola virus, and the exercise will not only be limited to ETU but to clinics and hospitals in and around the country.
He said the strategy is to allow victims to speak with family members or health authorities on the kind of treatment they received while in the treatment unit.
Liberia’s Deputy Health Minister, Tolbert Nyenswah, said rapid isolation and treatment was able to stop widespread infection of the virus.
He said this was designed for clinicians to ask patients where they came from and that constant tracing was a key strategy in resolving the outbreak.
According to Minister Nyenswah, during the heat of the Ebola crisis in Liberia, the government and its partners did not know how to contain the virus from spreading to other communities, which caused more innocent citizens to lose their lives due to lack of protection from authorities.
He lauded EHealth Africa for support rendered to the Government and people of Liberia, but cautioned, “We are not off the hook yet; there is still a great work to be done before declaring this country free of the virus.”
UNICEF in partnership with Ministry of Health and EHealth Africa developed the Trace and Go (TAG) System that tracks patients once they enter an ETU.
TAG informs families of their loved one’s status and current location when they enter the ETU and sends regular SMS updates every 24 hours or when a patient’s status changes.
The TAG system is now operational at ELWA 2, MOD, and SKD China ETUs, German SITTU and also in different counties, including Lofa and Grand Cape Mount, respectively.
By Lewis Teh & Bridgett Milton