Treatment Transportation & Resource Distribution

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Health workers prepare one of two ambulances for the Bong County ETU in Liberia, October 2014. Photograph by Morgana Wingard, USAID

Getting People to Treatment

Before people understood the risks of transporting suspected Ebola patients, motorcycles, taxis, or hammocks were often used. Journeys to a clinic or ETU could take hours. 

Without enough ambulances, responders converted pick-up trucks and other vehicles. Without strict protocols, drivers and undiagnosed passengers risked exposure to Ebola.  Furthermore, many people were unfamiliar with ambulances, resulting in fear and skepticism.

CDC and partners worked to develop proper protocols for ambulances, including disinfection procedures and the wearing of PPE by drivers and attendants. Health communicators worked to educate people about why they should use an ambulance, demystifying the process.   

Food and Supply Distribution

When families and communities are quarantined—whether voluntarily or not—it is critical that they are provided adequate food and supplies. Otherwise, people may be provoked into social unrest or into breaking the quarantine. During the Ebola epidemic, the World Food Programme was a leader in distributing food throughout the region.

Coordinated by the World Food Programme, General Food Distribution (GFD) to communities was organized in a way that minimized the chance of infection. The food rations were sufficient for one month.


Social mobilizers distributing soap to residents of Kenema, Sierra Leone, during the three-day stay-at-home curfew in March 2015. Photograph by Tanya Bindra, UNICEF

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Distributing food in N‘Zérékoré , Guinea on February 24, 2015. Photograph by Rein Skullerud, World Food Programme

Ambulance Demonstrations

In order to address skepticism and fear about ambulance services, CDC, WHO, UNICEF and other partners staged public ambulance demonstrations. The following graphic explains why ambulance teams wear PPE, and how chlorine is used to clean ambulances. Chlorine was used extensively as a disinfectant to kill the Ebola virus.

Destigmatizing ambulances CDC infographic

This CDC infographic was used to inform community members of the purpose of ambulance drivers in order to reduce stigma attached to ambulances and healthcare workers during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Source: CDC, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology (DHCPP), Viral Special Pathogens Branch (VSPB)
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Nur, Sophia (Interview 2)

Dr. Sophia Nur

Dr. Sophia Nur describes using ambulances in communities.

3. The Role of Science in the Epidemic
Isolation & Treatment
Transportation & Resource Distribution