Ebola Situation Worsens

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It has long been said by M├ędicins San Frontiers (MSF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international bodies that the Ebola situation in Liberia was not abating.

This was again reiterated on Sunday, August 17, when officials of the Liberian Government and WHO opened new Ebola isolation facilities in Monrovia. These new facilities will be able to host more than 200 confirmed patients at once and still have space for suspected cases and those who might test negative even though they once tested positive.

Addressing a joint press conference Sunday, August 17, along with WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, Liberia’s Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah said they had to construct these new isolation centers in order to decongest the present center at ELWA and take in new cases.

One of the new centers, the one which our Health Correspondent toured at the JFK Medical Center in Sinkor, has 35 beds and can possibly accomodate at most 45 beds, according to Dr. Atai Omoruoto, a Ugandan medical practitioner hired by the WHO to help arrest the situation in Liberia.

Dr. Omoruoto is a member of a team of Ugandan medical practitioners comprising two doctors and seven nurses, who will be running the refurbished and extended Ebola center at the JFK. The Ugandan doctor earlier told our reporter that with the present trend of the disease, it might still be around up to December.

Speaking further, Asst. Min. Nyenswah said the government was doing all health wise to adequately respond to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, especially after the revamping of the incident management system for Ebola response.

“We have been struggling in the past weeks with… where to admit would-be Ebola patients. We want to announce that 120-bed capacity for treating Ebola patients has been opened at ELWA-3,” he said.

He disclosed that ELWA-2, located in the ELWA hospital compound , now hosts at least 77 patients. This figure is far beyond its 25 to 30-patient capacity, one of the health workers at this facility to our correspondent Friday, August 15.

This worker, who asked not to be named, also told the Daily Observer that at least 20 persons died on Thursday night at the ELWA-2 isolation center.

Min. Nyenswah further disclosed that ELWA-3, which has the capacity of 120 beds at the moment, would be expanded to 300 beds in the coming weeks.

Also addressing the press conference, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, WHO Country Representative, said that at least 50 health workers have volunteered to work at the JFK isolation center, which will operate three shifts.

Dr. Ndayimije sadly said it was not enough to keep opening isolation centers: “We need to talk more about prevention.” He urged everyone to do everything possible to prevent the disease from spreading further.

PRESENT EBOLA SITUATION

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry Situation Report on the virus has reported that as of March 22 to August 15, 178 persons have been confirmed to have died from the virus. However, it listed 466 as total deaths in probable, suspected and confirmed deaths. In the latter figure, 44 are health workers as 94 of them have contracted the virus.

Lofa County is the worst hit with 108 confirmed cases; followed by Montserrado with 43, Bong, 18, Bomi, 9 and Nimba, 7.

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