The U.S. Government has donated another supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the international response to the Ebola outbreak which is affecting Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
The donation, including aprons, face masks, gowns, caps and cadaver bags, are in addition to a previous donation by the U.S. Government. Last week, the U.S. Government made a similar donation, including rubber boots, coveralls and gloves, which will protect health workers who are at the forefront of providing essential care to patients who are suspected or confirmed to have the Ebola virus. Health workers who use the protective equipment as recommended are protected from exposure to blood or body fluids from infected patients.
In presenting the items recently to the Government of Liberia, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Liberia Mission Director, John Mark Winfield, said the U.S. Government is committed to helping in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus.
World Health Organization Representative to Liberia Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, who received the donations, immediately passed the essential equipment to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and thanked the U.S. Government for the donations, which he said will help boost Liberia’s response to the Ebola virus.
Dr. Ndayimirije said partnership was important in the fight against the outbreak, and urged stakeholders to unite to improve the response by making sure no health worker is infected and dies because of the lack of protective gear.
In receiving the PPE, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bernice Dahn, warned that communities and religious institutions should not try to serve as health facilities. She said Liberians are still in the denial stage, which is fuelling a deterioration of the situation. “At this point, you do not know what you are dealing with,” Dr. Dahn said. “So, don’t keep sick people in your homes or facilities. “
Three weeks ago, Liberia experienced a second wave of the outbreak. Since that time, more than 30 persons have died of the disease.
The U.S. Government has provided additional support to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to mitigate the Ebola outbreak, which includes supplying materials and messaging in communities to prevent the spread of Ebola, training environmental health technicians, financial support for deployment of field teams to the WHO Africa Regional Office and WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), training of health workers in contact tracing, and the provision of essential supplies for collection, preservation, transport and analysis of blood specimens.