News / Africa

Health Ministers: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Needs Stronger Response

Health Ministers: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Needs Stronger Responsei
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 02, 2014 11:35 PM
Health ministers from across West Africa are attending an emergency conference in Ghana to discuss the regional outbreak of Ebola virus disease. The World Health Organization says the highly infectious disease has killed more than 400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Health Ministers: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Needs Stronger Response

Henry Ridgwell

Health ministers from across West Africa are attending an emergency conference in Ghana to discuss the regional outbreak of Ebola virus disease. The World Health Organization says the highly infectious disease has killed more than 400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone police and medical workers man checkpoints on the outskirts of Kenema -- the site of an Ebola outbreak that is spreading across West Africa.

Authorities are forcing people to test for the disease. Some victims try to avoid detection, preferring to die in secret.

The outbreak is the worst since the disease was identified in the 1970s, according to Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Ebola outbreaks, deaths in AfricaEbola outbreaks, deaths in Africa
x
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in Africa
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in Africa

"The outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented in the history of Ebola outbreaks because it involves three countries, at least, capital cities, multiple sources, and that will make it far more difficult to control," he said.

Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea. It is spread through contact with the blood or other fluids of infected people.

Misinformation, porous borders

Doctors say a lack of understanding is contributing to its rapid spread. Porous borders between the affected countries also make it difficult to contain.

Dr. Shek Moar Khan of Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone said families often bury victims without telling anyone.

“By the time people are dead with the Ebola, they are more infectious than ever. So if they take care of their burial on their own, 10 more will be infected,” said Khan.

In neighboring Liberia, nurse Elizabeth Smith lies bleeding on a hospital bed. She contracted the Ebola virus from her patients. Her colleagues are doing what they can to help; but her chances of survival are about 10 percent.

Sense of urgency

District health officer Philip Azumah said Liberia cannot cope alone.

“We are calling on the international community to come and support the ministry. Right now we can't do it. We need international support,” he said.

But it’s not just medical help that’s needed. Communities across the region need urgent education about the disease, said Piot.

“Fear of the virus and distrust of authorities and of the health system probably is as bad and as dangerous as the virus itself," he said. "And what I think is needed now is a massive information campaign, but not just facts, but involving community leaders, the media, the local media, more than disease experts.”

Health workers bury the dead in unmarked graves in the middle of the bush. The disease is so infectious that disinfectant is sprayed every step of the way. The workers’ protective clothing is buried along with the body.

The death toll from the outbreak is growing. Doctors warn that the response to date has been far from adequate.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: babalola biodun from: Lagos, Nigeria
July 03, 2014 3:31 AM
The world Health Organization need to come for our aid in West Africa. Ebola kills more faster than HIV so,we need Medical experts to help find lasting solution, before the whole of West African contact the deadly disease. Thanks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid