World ‘losing battle’ to contain Ebola, warns MSF

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said on Tuesday (Sep 2) the world was “losing the battle” to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said on Tuesday (Sep 2) the world was “losing the battle” to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.

“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat,” said MSF international president Joanne Liu.

“The (World Health Organisation) announcement on Aug 8 that the epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction.”

Liu called for the international community to fund more beds for a regional network of field hospitals, dispatch trained personnel and deploy mobile laboratories across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

MSF said in a statement accompanying the briefing that the crisis was particularly accute in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where it is estimated that “800 additional beds are needed”.

“Every day we have to turn sick people away because we are too full”, said Stefan Liljegren, MSF’s coordinator at the ELWA Three Ebola unit in Monrovia. “I have had to tell ambulance drivers to call me before they arrive with patients, no matter how unwell they are, since we are often unable to admit them.”

MSF said that while its care centres in Liberia and Sierra Leone were overcrowded, people were continuing to die in their communities. “In Sierra Leone, highly infectious bodies are rotting in the streets,” their statement said.

The Ebola outbreak has killed 1,552 people and infected 3,062, according to the latest figures released by the WHO. At current infection rates, the agency fears it could take six to nine months and at least US$490 million (€373 million) to bring the outbreak under control, by which time over 20,000 people could be affected.

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.