Getting People to Treatment

Bong County Ambulance

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.   

Ambulance Demonstrations

In order to address skepticism and fear about ambulance services, CDC, WHO, UNICEF and other partners staged public ambulance demonstrations. 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. This CDC 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.

In May 2015, a team in Magazine Wharf, Sierra Leone acted out the different steps taken to ensure that ambulances take people safely from home to a health facility. Photographs by O. Kabia, courtesy of WHO.

Nur, Sophia (Interview 2)

Dr. Sophia Nur

Dr. Sophia Nur, communications expert with CDC's Division of Global Health Protection,  describes cultural perceptions of ambulances. (Transcript)