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Pan Afr Med J. 2018 Oct 12;31:107. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2018.31.107.15517. eCollection 2018.

Implementing infection prevention and control capacity building strategies within the context of Ebola outbreak in a "Hard-to-Reach" area of Liberia.

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Infection Prevention and Control, Health Security and Emergencies Department, World Health Organization, Monrovia, Liberia.
Department of Quality Management Unit Services, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Monrovia, Liberia.
Public Health Unit, Global Public Health Solutions, Atlanta GA, USA.



In August 2014, WHO declared that Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa including Liberia had become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Infection prevention and control (IPC) among healthcare workers was pivotal in reducing healthcare worker infection and containing the recent EVD outbreak. Hard to reach areas (HTRA) presents peculiar challenges in public health emergencies. We present the result of IPC capacity building strategies deployed in Gbarpolu County: an HTRA of Liberia.


Between April to October 2015, we conducted IPC training and mentorship at the county, district and facility levels in a selected HTRA of Liberia using the keep Safe, Keep Serving manual and the WHO core components of infection control. Serial follow-up assessments and mentoring using the Liberian Minimum standard tool for safe care in Liberian health facilities (MST) were done.


180 (100%) facility based healthcare workers were trained: including 59 clinicians (32%) and 121 (67%) non-clinicians. 100% of the healthcare workers in four selected very HTRAs were trained and underwent facility based-mentorship. Compliance with IPC practice increased: the MST score increased from 75% to 90% and for the MST score for waste management and isolation increased 60% to 87%.


Strengthening the capacity of healthcare workers for IPC was instrumental for containing the EVD epidemic but also critical for routine safe and quality services. A culture of IPC among healthcare workers in HTRA can be implemented through capacity building and training.


Ebola virus disease; Infection prevention and control; capacity building; hard-to-reach areas

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