In this interview, Chea Sanford Wesseh describes early challenges to the Ebola response in Liberia. As the head of contact tracing in the national incident management system (IMS) during the 2014-2015 outbreak, he provides insight into the initial lack of resources and training that affected the country’s response. Throughout, Wesseh emphasizes that every aspect of a response, from contact tracing to case management to burial, must be properly functioning for the response to be effective. He explains the role of contact tracers and how that role shifted as the response came to include community members as active case finders, also giving the contextual background that led to this shift in the response. Reflecting on the operation as a whole, Wesseh outlines aspects of the response that shifted to create an effective Ebola response in Liberia.
At the time of this interview, Chea Sanford Wesseh served as the head of contact tracing during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, for all regions outside of Montserrado County as part of Liberia’s national incident management system. Prior to his role in the Ebola response, he held the position of assistant minister of vital statistics in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare since his appointment in 2006. At the time of the interview, he continued to fulfill this role in the ministry.