We had been working in these countries for years and when the crisis broke out all three governments asked us to support the response. We had never worked in a crisis before but our staff, who live and work in the affected countries, began to see that while Ebola looked like a purely medical problem, it was also a systems problem.
One of the biggest challenges facing these governments was whether they could manage the complex response. This was something we knew we could be useful in supporting, so by December 2014 one third of our 50-person organisation was working on the Ebola response.
The true heroes of the Ebola crisis are the many Sierra Leonean, Liberian and Guinean colleagues who put themselves on the front line in the battle against the disease. But we are also proud of the life-saving work done by our teams during the crisis and we continue to support the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to help their economies and societies recover.
Our teams worked on different things as the disease and the response took different paths in different countries, including:
- Working with the Presidents and their top advisors directly in each of the three countries.
- Supporting technical areas like social mobilisation in Liberia and data systems in Sierra Leone.
- Setting-up and managing different coordination bodies, such as the National Ebola Response Centre in Sierra Leone and the Incident Management System in Liberia.
Our State of Emergency report gives an insight into the heart of the response.