Learning from the challenges of Ebola Virus Disease contact tracers in Sierra Leone, February, 2015.

The Pan African medical journal

PubMedID: 26740849

Ilesanmi OS. Learning from the challenges of Ebola Virus Disease contact tracers in Sierra Leone, February, 2015. Pan Afr Med J. 2015;22 Suppl 121.
INTRODUCTION
Sierra Leone was in the process of strengthening tracing of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) contact with training of contact tracers, continuous mentoring and monitoring, supervision and continuous support. This was through various national and international organizations. This study aimed at identifying the challenges of contact tracers with a view of improving contact tracing activities in Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone.

METHODS
In-depth interview was conducted among contact tracers who were actively involved in contact tracing within the 4 weeks preceding the interview. In-depth interview guide was used to interview the contact tracers. Questions were asked about the state of EVD outbreak, challenges of contact tracing, ways to improving contact tracers activities and ways to ensure community participation and follow up action.

RESULTS
A total of 12 Contact tracers were interviewed. Most of the contact tracers saw the lifting of ban by the Government on movement as a delay to stopping the outbreak. Some of them were being threatened by their communities and insulted. Some communities with EVD cases felt it was no longer in Sierra Leone and that the contact tracers were the ones infecting the people with Ebola. More than 80% of the participants indicated that retraining of contact tracers and re-orientation of community members would help in putting a stop to the outbreak.

CONCLUSION
All participants indicated interest in improving their activities and performance. They suggested that more social mobilization is needed to ensure the cooperation of their communities.