Gabon: Ebola response frustrated

MSF sent six specialists and medicines, protective gear and sanitary equipment to Mekambo and Makokou as part of an immediate international response coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, hostility from local communities unused to the Western scientific approach to medicine, combined with bureaucratic constraints imposed by the WHO and Gabonese authorities, prevented MSF from making full use of its expertise in treating and containing Ebola. The team reluctantly withdrew in mid-February 2002. Another MSF team continued its intervention in the remote tropical forest area of Mbomo and Kéllé, across the border in Congo, until the outbreak was contained there in March 2002. MSF does not currently work in Gabon.