(Reuters) – The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help. As the death toll rose to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva the vast nature of the outbreak — particularly in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — required a massive emergency response. Sarah Crowe, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, said the U.N. children’s agency was using innovative ways to tackle the epidemic, including telling people to “use whatever means they have, such as plastic bags, to cover themselves if they have to deal with sick members of their family”. Read more.
In a separate Reuters report, the health care crisis is having a devastating impact on the limited health care workers in the region, particularly, Liberia:
The disease has taken a particularly heavy toll on healthcare workers who have stationed themselves on the frontline of the fight against the disease.
Some 144 healthcare workers have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to Sept. 7 figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).The first Sierra Leonean female doctor to be diagnosed with Ebola died on Sunday, according to two government sources. Olivette Buck was head of the Lumley Health Centre in a densely-populated suburb west of the capital Freetown. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, apparently contracting it as she treated an Ebola patient. Read more.
I think the Ebola crisis in Africa is particularly distressing. The world is so focused on the Middle East that the Ebola virus is literally a living, thriving aggressive death virus that is killing the people of West Africa, and before long, perhaps the entire African continent. Rarely does Ebola make it to the front page of U.S. newspapers (at least in the Baltimore Sun). I read frequently of more funding to combat the virus (the Bill Gates Foundation recently announced its largest gift ever to combat the virus), but I have yet to read of success in controlling the virus (except for Americans who have contracted the virus and have been brought home to be cured). How long will it take for funding for the virus to materialize into hospitals in Africa, staffed with trained and protected medical care workers? Can you imagine the time it will take to decide what a treatment center need entail, bring the products to port for shipping, deliver the products to Africa, build the hospitals (including an electric generation facility), staff the hospital, and treat the first patient? Will the Africans still be alive when help arrives and is ultimately delivered?
I implore you. Pray for God to do a miracle to stop the advance of this death virus.
“Jesus – I pray for the people infected with this deadly pestilence. May your wounds be sufficient to provide healing and save lives in Africa; and may your will be done on earth as you have so willed it in heaven.”