The Africa Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) Liberia, in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health, have concluded a meeting aimed at disseminating results from the Surveillance for Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) Project, which has ended in Liberia. The project started in 2018 and was supported by the United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (USCDC).
The objective of the project was to determine the etiologies of AFI among children and adolescents between the ages 2 to 7 years and adults 18 years and above that attended selected health facilities in Liberia to inform public health programs at these facilities, including capacity development to identify, monitor, and assess pathogens of potential public importance, programmatic improvement for patient care and treatment, and resource allocations.
Liberia had its first imported case of SARS-CoV-2, popularly known as COVID-19 on March 16, 2020. At the request of NPHIL and MoH and with approval from the Incident Management System (IMS), surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 was added to the AFI platform in April of 2022 as another objective to the project.
According to the project result dissemination report, starting in 2018, the AFI surveillance project conducted its surveillance operations within two health establishments, the Redemption Hospital situated in New Kru Town, and the Star of the Sea Health Center in West Point, Montserrado County.
The report further revealed that in February 2022 the project expanded its activities to three additional facilities: John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Montserrado County, George W. Harley Hospital and Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Nimba County.
From December 5, 2018 through the 19 of December 2022 the report further pointed out that a total of 5625 patients were enrolled into the AFI surveillance project. Of this amount, one patient was excluded for data analysis due to clinical diagnosis not matching the enrollment eligibility, and 93 patients were also excluded due to inability to test on the TAC platform.
The report also pointed out that Redemption Hospital contributed the highest, 66%, representing 3,666 patients, and JFK Memorial Hospital contributed 3%, representing 191. This low figure, according to the report, was due to being the last health facility that was enrolled. Females contributed 60% of the total participants that were enrolled during the project.
Over the five-year period, the AFI project enrolled a total of 24% in-patients across four of the five health facilities. A greater portion of the hospitalized patients were from the emergency rooms and the pediatric units the report noted.
In separate remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, and Jane Macauley, Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), who was represented by Philip Bemah, Director, Division of Monitoring and Evaluation, commended the AFENET Liberia Office for the successful implementation of the project.
They thanked the USCDC for the support and assured of the government’s continue cooperation in building a resilient health sector.