Infection Prevention and Control in Liberia 5 Years After Ebola: A Case Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Effective management of health emergencies is an important strategy to improve health worldwide. One way to manage health emergencies is to build and sustain national capacities. The Ebola epidemic of 2014 to 2015 resulted in greater infection prevention and control (IPC) capacity in Liberia, but few studies have investigated if and how that capacity was sustained. The purpose of this study was to examine the maintenance of IPC capacity in Liberia after Ebola. Methods: For this case study, data were collected via direct observation of nurse practice, semistructured interviews, and document collection. Data were collected in two counties in Liberia. Data were analyzed using directed content and general thematic analysis using codes generated from the safety capital theoretical framework, which describes an organization’s intangible occupational health resources. Findings: Thirty-seven nurses from 12 facilities participated. Ebola was a seminal event in the development of safety capital in Liberia, particularly regarding nurse knowledge of IPC and facilities’ investments in safety. The safety capital developed during Ebola is still being applied at the individual and organizational levels. Tangible resources, including personal protective equipment, however, have been depleted. Conclusions/Application to Practice: IPC capacity in Liberia had been sustained since Ebola but was threatened by under-investments in physical resources. Donor countries should prioritize sustained support, both financial and technical, in partnership with Liberian leaders. Occupational health nurses participating in disaster response should advocate for long-term investment by donor countries in personal protective equipment, access to water, and clinician training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalWorkplace Health and Safety
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Ebola virus disease
  • infection control
  • Liberia
  • low-income country
  • personal protective equipment
  • safety capital theoretical framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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