MSF: Ebola

Region of Impact
Africa
Total funding
$2.5 million
Funding began in
2014
Focus
Crisis Response

Overview

Creating a new way to record and organize medical data in crisis situations

What they do

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international association comprised of doctors and health sector workers that provides relief to victims of natural and manmade disasters. MSF believes that all people, regardless of their race, creed or country of origin, should have access to medical care essentials. Throughout the years, MSF has been called on to address a variety of humanitarian emergencies. However, Ebola proved to be one of its most challenging threats yet.

Ebola has an average mortality rate between 25% and 90%. It is also highly contagious, causing widespread outbreaks that are hard to control. MSF had been tracking Ebola outbreaks, but when it hit in 2014, the strength of the disease was felt in full force. At the peak of the outbreak, MSF had 4,325 staffers in the field in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The sheer magnitude of those suffering, and the threat of further spread prompted Google.org, along with many other organizations, to move into action.

How we're helping

Supported through funding from Google.org, MSF mobilized thousands of staff to support immediate relief efforts, trained nearly 600 first responders and thousands of West African health staff in patient care, safety precautions, and safe burials. At the height of the outbreak, MSF operated 650 beds in isolation and had 4,475 staff on the ground providing care to 10,200+ people.

Upon seeing how difficult it was to track patients’ medical information during the Ebola outbreak, Google engineers also contributed to the development of products that could help doctors better manage and organize patient records while working in the field.

The first of these efforts was dubbed Project Buendia—an open source medical system app with a simple UI that could be navigated by doctors in full protective gear to eliminate the need for paper records. Later, Google engineers also developed a prototype for a waterproof, sterilizable tablet that was covered in polycarbonate and can be dipped in chlorine disinfectant.

Project gallery

Four MSF field workers look into the camera while using their tablets to access the Project Buendia app.
An MSF field worker in a medical tent tends to a sick patient, while another uses a tablet to access Project Buendia.
An MSF field worker in protective gear looks into the camera while using a tablet to access Project Buendia.
MSF volunteers laugh while sharing a joyful moment with an at-risk local.

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