Use of Hand Sanitizer Key in Ebola Preparedness Activities

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At the Saint Martin Hospital of Papané in Tchaourou in neighboring Borgou Region of Benin, preparing to respond adequately to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) started with an outbreak of Lassa fever in November 2014, not long after the most widespread outbreak of EVD in history hit West Africa. Lassa hemorrhagic fever—a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) and close cousin to EVD—was first diagnosed in Benin at the Tanguiéta hospital in Atakora Region. Three hundred kilometers away, the staff of Saint Martin Hospital did not think that they would be affected by Lassa nor that they would have to face an outbreak head-on a year later.

In January 2016, Lassa hit much closer to home than expected for the 98 health workers and surrounding community at the Saint Martin Hospital of Papané, when six health professionals were infected in the town of Tchaourou by one pregnant patient arriving from a border town close to Nigeria. Gregoire Tchabi, Head of Quality for the Papané Hospital, said, “They didn’t know what to do... They didn’t have experience with this before,” referring to the suspected case and later outbreak of Lassa. Three of the Papané health workers were confirmed by the laboratory as having been infected with Lassa, and two later died.

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Training hospital worker in mixing hydroalcoholic solution.
Training hospital worker in mixing hydroalcoholic solution.
Publication Date 
January 2018
Resource Type 
Success Stories