U.S. Department of Defense to Establish 2 Ebola Testing Centers in Liberia

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    The Government of Liberia has announced that the US Department of Defense will soon establish two Ebola testing centers in Liberia.

    This was disclosed by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter Traub Gwenigale, when he officially initiated the “Ebola Half Hour” radio program.

    Pieces of information provided on the “Ebola Half Hour” will be the outcome of daily technical meetings between the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its partners— including the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Dr. Gwenigale said a delegation of the US Defense Dept., which has medical testing facilities over the border in Kenema, Sierra Leone, will arrive in the country by Thursday of this week to begin work setting up the two laboratories.

    The main lab will be set up at the Liberia Institute of Biomedical Research (LIBR) in Charlesville, a few kilometers from the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, while the other would be a mobile laboratory, set up in Foya, Lofa County, epicenter of the deadly Ebola outbreak in Lofa County, the Daily Observer was told exclusively by the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije.

    The Health Minister explained that the centers would reduce the cost and time of sending blood samples to neighboring Guinea for confirmation.

    He thanked the US Defense Department for their support in helping to fight the deadly Ebola virus, which has so far claimed at least 10 lives. Eight of those lives were lost in Foya, Lofa County, while the other two died in Montserrado and Nimba Counties.

    The Health Minister said the labs would help ensure that the spread of the virus in the country is stopped.

    Providing updates as he launched the “Ebola Half Hour” radio program, which would be simulcast on at least three radio stations, including the state-owned ELBC, Dr. Gwenigale stated that the Ministry has been making efforts to provide the necessary awareness on the prevention of the spread of the virus.

    He stated that they were also making sure that protection of all the health personnel working with suspected Ebola patients was paramount to the Ministry.

    Dr. Gwenigale disclosed that at least 21 persons have been confirmed to have contracted the virus since the verification of its presence in Liberia on March 30, 2014. Of this number 10 persons have died.  

    “We received information that a young girl who was hospitalized died early yesterday morning in Foya, Lofa County,” he said sadly.

    The Minister passionately appealed to the public to avoid contact with people suspected of having Ebola’s body fluids and with the bodies of suspected victims.

    He also appealed to religious leaders, praying mothers and family members to take advantage of the measures provided by the Health Ministry and stop praying for someone who shows signs of the virus as they themselves could contract the virus, which has a fatality rate of 90 percent, according to WHO.

    According to the Health Minister, some people who had come in contact with suspected Ebola carriers, were on the run and they were doing all they could to locate said persons, as their actions could pose a serious threat to the larger population.

    Since the launch of the “Ebola Half Hour,” radio program fell on World Health Day, April 7, the Message of the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region Director, was read by WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije.

    Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo’s Message said the aim of 2014’s commemoration was to raise awareness about the threat posed by a group of diseases that are spread by insects and others vectors, including flies, mosquitoes and freshwater snails.

    The Day was celebrated under theme:  “Vector-borne diseases: small bite, big threat.”

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