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Money Questions Swirl as Liberia's Ebola Outbreak Nears End

Moses Duo, 9, receives a certificate for being cured of the Ebola virus in Paynesville, Liberia, July 20, 2015.

Moses Duo, 9, receives a certificate for being cured of the Ebola virus in Paynesville, Liberia, July 20, 2015.

As Liberia prepares to be declared once again free of the Ebola virus later this week, unions and civil society groups are beginning to question how the government spent money allocated to fight the outbreak.

More than 4,800 Liberians died from the disease since the outbreak began in 2014.

The country was declared free of the disease in May, but it re-emerged weeks later.

International donors pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help the impoverished country fight the virus.

Account for funds

Lamii Kpargoi, the head of civil society group Liberia Media Center, said his group has launched a project to account for how that money was spent.

“We are looking at every funding that came in to respond to the Ebola outbreak, whether it’s during the actual outbreak or during the post-outbreak situation,” Kpargoi said.

Some people are already crying foul.

Health workers have recently taken to the streets of the capital, Monrovia, saying they have not been paid by the government for work they did during the outbreak, such as contact tracing, where they find people who came into contact with Ebola patients.

George Williams, secretary general of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia, said, "The government said they were paying health workers salaries of $500, salaries plus incentives. And that is not the reality.”

Relies on foreign donors

Aldolphus Yeaih, a health officer for Margibi County outside the capital, said the local government relies on foreign donors to pay the salaries of its volunteers and contact tracers, money it has not received.

“We do not have the resource to pay contact tracers, we have not paid contract tracers,” Yeaih said.

A new death from Ebola was reported in Sierra Leone Monday, and it will likely be months before the two other West African countries hit hard by the outbreak, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are declared free of the virus.

Prince Collins contributed to this report from Monrovia, Liberia