According to a recent WHO report on Ebola, not only has the death toll passed 3,000, but the numbers of infected persons within Africa are expected to rise to 20,000 by November.
In the report, the World Health Organization (WHO) additionally stated that, “The current situation is so dire that, in several areas that include capital cities, many of these common diseases and health conditions are barely being managed at all”.
Furthermore, the report touched on the growing concern of Ebola in the coming months, stating that, “Without drastic improvements in control measures, the numbers of cases and deaths from Ebola are expected to continue increasing from hundreds to thousands per week in the coming months”.
In addition to detailing the rapid spread of Ebola, the report also touched on several of the current issues facing treating Ebola such as:
- Over 200 health workers have been killed since the outbreak with an additional 375 being infected
- Ebola is currently killing 71 per cent of all those infected with no signs of the mortality rate dropping
- The current facilities equipped to handle Ebola are severely under funded with multiple hospitals overflowing with patients or simply being closed to further stop the spread of the disease
- Within hospitals still active, there is a major shortage of beds for patients, a point that WHO remarked was “grossly and visibly inadequate”
- That all of these factors are making it very difficult to combat the spread of Ebola in a timely and sanitary matter
Following the release of the report, a WHO official in a press release remarked on the Ebola crisis which, simply put, is not going away any time soon.
“These figures, which are far greater than those from all previous Ebola outbreaks combined, are known by WHO to vastly underestimate the true scale of the epidemic. The Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times. Never before in recorded history has a biosafety level four pathogen infected so many people so quickly, over such a broad geographical area, for so long.”
Christopher Dye, co-author of the study published by WHO and the Imperial College in London additionally remarked that, “If we don’t stop the epidemic very soon, this is going to turn from a disaster into a catastrophe,” he told reporters in a press conference in Geneva. He further stated that Ebola may “rumble on as it has for the last few months for the next few years.”
“The fear is that Ebola will become more or less a permanent feature of the human population,” warned Dye, who is currently leading the UN health agencies in combating Ebola. Since the outbreak, more than 3,133 deaths have been reported from the total number of infected persons who number around 6,500 leaving one to question if Ebola will continue to spread unchecked. It is worth noting that the “experimental” Canadian vaccine has been synthesized for nearly 6 weeks with little to no progress in treating Ebola in West Africa.
American military begins operations in Liberia
On Sept. 27, The Navy’s 133rd Mobile Construction Battalion began clearing fields around Liberia’s main airport in an attempt to clear the area for the development of more “tent hospitals”.
According to Petty Officer Second Class Justin Holsinger, in an interview with TIME, the marines present were building in a natural downward slope into the field for water runoff in an attempt “to keep out any unwanted reptiles”.
This comes after President Obama’s call to action when he ordered 3,000 American soldiers into West Africa on Sept. 16 in an attempt to combat the growing Ebola crisis.
Following this, President Obama criticized the UN this past Thursday, remarking that “Right now, everybody has the best of intentions, but people are not putting in the kinds of resources that are necessary to put a stop to this epidemic”.
Liberia’s new facility failing to quell the spread of Ebola
Liberia’s Island Clinic, by far the largest and best stocked of all of the Ebola treatment facilities is still failing to keep up with the growing threat of Ebola.
Within an hour of opening, the clinic was already full with all of the beds and available space taken.
In response to this, WHO, which funded the development of the clinic before handing it over to Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has issued several statements on the precarious situation facing the new facility.
“It’s a drop of water in an ocean,” remarked WHO representative Pieter Desloove, acknowledging that “the demand is huge” on the Island Clinic.
Then there are the troubles surrounding staffing the facility as debates in Liberia rage over insufficient wages. Workers at the Island Clinic have allegedly threatened to walk off the job on Sept. 30 due to rumours that the government would be reducing the $300 dollars the staff currently receive a month.
In an interview with CBC, a unanimous health workers commented that “We agreed to risk our lives, but we are not satisfied with the pay”.