Turning the tables on Ebola in Sierra Leone

Kumba gets a reminder call for the Ebola vaccine trial.

The phone rings. Kumba retrieves it from the folds of her wrapped skirt, to hear a message about Ebola. She was expecting the call. As a volunteer in one of the most important vaccine clinical trials in the history of Sierra Leone, she’s excited, and nervous. Her first clinic appointment is coming up.
For many, the Ebola crisis of 2014 has faded. The outbreak that swiftly killed more than 11,000 people is over, and life is almost back to normal in the hardest hit countries. Schools are open. People gather in the marketplace. But in the background, the fight against the virus continues.  
In Sierra Leone and a handful of other countries, citizens like Kumba are helping to test a new vaccine. Their goal is simple: to prevent another devastating outbreak.
They have support. In Sierra Leone, the EBOVAC vaccine clinical trial is backed up by the EBODAC Consortium, a collaboration of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, World Vision Ireland, and Grameen Foundation. EBODAC was set up as part of the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiatives Ebola+ Programme.
EBODAC is innovative in several respects. It employs the latest strategies to assure strong community engagement and new biometric technologies to reliably identify volunteers who may not have an official form of ID.  It also uses Grameen Foundation’s MOTECH mobile health technology to ensure volunteers have all the information and care they need: informing them of appointments, conveying health messages, and compiling data for clinics.
To learn about Kumba’s and Grameen Foundation’s participation in the EBODAC vaccine clinical trial, watch this video.