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Liberia’s Health System Collapses as Ebola Spreads

NAN

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House Foreign Affairs Cmte Holds Hearing On Combating The Ebola Threat

Washington DC  (Reuters/NAN) – Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, said on Friday in Washington that health care system in Liberia has collapsed over the Ebola epidemic.

Ngafuan said hospitals were closing down and medical workers fleeing from the Ebola epidemic, which is poised to worsen.

“People are dying from common diseases because the health care system is collapsing. It is going to have a long-term impact, even after this crisis is behind us.

“Treatable diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea are left untended because frightened Liberians are shunning medical centres.

“These deaths could outstrip those from the Ebola virus by three or four fold,”he said.

The minister, however, said that his biggest concern was the spread of the epidemic.

“We are hearing it is going to get worse before it gets better. We do not know how much worse that will be.

“My main worry is the fear of how many people will die. Right now it is out of control and jumps from place to place,” Ngafuan said.

According to him, the number of trained doctors and nurses, already in critical short supply after years of civil war, is shrinking as medical workers get infected, quarantined or are afraid to report to work.

He said the country entered the epidemic with only about 50 doctors for 4 million people.

“What is happening now is that the entire health sector is being devastated by the crisis.

“It is not only a killer, but it kills those who care for them, and a good number of them are dying,” Ngafuan said.

The three West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus, namely Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, are overwhelmed.

Ngafuan said the countries stressed at a meeting on Monday with top-level U.S. government officials, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Bank that a global response was critical,

Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Samura Kamara, also delivered a similar message in Washington after the three-day U.S.-Africa Summit.

“This is a disease that is beyond the capacity of the three national governments.

“We need greater international awareness and support and it should be considered a global health crisis that needs a global response,”he said.

Both ministers said they were satisfied with the U.S. response.

They had requested emergency assistance to contain the disease, logistical help, laboratories, additional health workers, and help with prevention and education programmes.

USAID, the international aid agency, pledged an additional five million dollars and sent in an emergency team.

The World Bank had also pledged 200 million dollars in emergency funding to fight the disease, which has claimed 932 lives and spread to Nigeria.

The ministers said focus in West Africa was on containment.

They were told experimental drugs and vaccines now under development at best would not be available until next year in what Kamara said “It is too early for that”.

Both countries, however, said they needed more financial help.

Kamara said Sierra Leone estimates the cost of its emergency measures from July through December at about 25 million dollars but only has seven million dollars.

Similarly, Liberia’s Minister of Health has put the cost at 21 million dollars for the period and faces a 10 million dollars to 15 million dollars shortfall.

Ngafuan said they were tapping their Diaspora communities for emergency relief while in Washington.

The ministers said rebuilding more resilient health care systems in their countries will cost many millions more.

But the crisis has shown how disease can ravage their economies and lead to a national security threat.

“It is like you are pressing the pause button on the general economic activity.

“Schools are not opening. People are in quarantine. They are not coming to work. It is going to have an impact,” Ngafuan said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong

NAN

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

20 Comments

  1. adelegirl

    August 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Nigeria had ample time and info to prevent this disease from spreading to it but shoddy work by our authorities allowed an infected Liberian into our shores. Sad and angry!

    • Khaleesi

      August 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      Precisely.

      God help us all. I have a very bad feeling about all of this

  2. Gorgeous

    August 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Na wah! And this my stubborn bf won’t leave Nigeria because of business. This man no go kill me and his parents

    • mrs chidukane

      August 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Ignorance at its finest.

  3. tunmi

    August 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    How can we help? Can we send supplies or something?

  4. mrs chidukane

    August 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Our government especially at state level is pretending they don’t know what is happening because they don’t want to release funds that they are storing for 2015 election. As if the money is their own, wicked people. Thank God it started in Lagos, a state with a forward thinking Governor. I wish he would contest for President. GEJ keeps displaying his ineptitude in everything. Even this Ebola that is a virus he can’t be pro active, tufia. I wonder his plan for 2nd term is and what he is coming back for.

  5. Aragon

    August 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Well, as Nigerians are quick to point out, the West should back off. Leave Africans alone to handle our problems. ‘Evil’ and ‘Ungodly’ west should leave ‘traditional and cultural’ Africans to handle our own affairs. In fact, prayers alone will cure this Ebola thing. Ignorant people.

    • SASSY

      August 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Oh shut up! The West takes animals from Africa, infects them with all sorts of diseases, then bring them back to Africa. Please bellanaija post this youtube link. people need to understand how the west uses africans as guinea pigs and lab rats
      youtube.com/watch?v=elIf5D-uxCo

  6. Wale

    August 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    There is no point sending money to these three governments. The international communities should send them medical supplies etc and doctors from all over should volunteer to help. Their governments officials will only embezzle with donated funds. Most of their families are abroad. I think we should focus on our own Ebola crisis there in Nigeria and curb it before we find ourselves in the same situation.

  7. SASSY

    August 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    America is not the saint you want to make them out to be. America has no problem using people as guinea pigs. In Guatemala, they intentionally infected guatemalan children, men and mental patients with syphilis. Watch. Weep. And be afraid. Very Afraid.

    youtube.com/watch?v=yi5RNp2XS3k

  8. Quirky

    August 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    i have a theory, call it conspiracy theory if you wish, but my theory is that, this virus was concocted in some major lab in the west and brought to Africa. They intend to test it out on Africans and after they will create a cure or a suppressant and make plenty money. These things are man made. And it is so sad.
    Why did they call it Ebola though?

    • ade

      August 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Silly theory….they also created malaria and typhoid and polio right cause those illnesses are not in the west but they invented the cure for us…always quick to blame them for our short comings to build our continent and equip it… when they have earthquake and tornado, do they call us???? every continent has its natural disasters.. STOP BLAMING THE WEST FOR OURS!!!!!

    • Ashley B

      August 9, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Ade please allow me to replace the A in ur name with an O. Now u get the real meaning of ur name!! So u think Malaria, Typhoid n Polio all started in Nigeria or indeed anywhere in Africa? FYI……. do some research b4 coming to public forums to spew ur shitty ignorance………………………#geturhistorylessonsright

      thats all i’ll say to You. #thankmelater

  9. Aibee

    August 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Hmmm. Liberia entered the epidemic with only 40 doctors to 4million people. The odds were already against that nation from the beginning. This is a really sad case.

  10. martins

    August 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    America should please reconsider their stand and send the drug to Nigeria and other African countries affected by ebola.will be unfair if we keep dying of disease when zmapp is already there.please we beg

    • Iris

      August 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      When there are people like Sassy here who will be quick to say America gave us Ebola and will now use zmapp to experiment on us for fun? Months ago Nigeria wanted to be left alone and didn’t need America’s help so I guess they gave us ebola to show us who’s really in charge *hiss*
      Religious leaders why are you silent? Where is the CAN president? He can sell one car and buy medical supplies

    • SASSYCASSIE

      August 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      do not put words in my mouth. i never said ebola was created by the us. my post was in response to the aragon’s very sarcastic comment. yes, i repeat america is no saint.

      read up on the TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS PROJECT IN AMERICA AND GUATEMAL. i posted the links in my other posts. Also read on MONKEY ISLAND LIBERIA.

      now,does this mean i think ebola was created by the us? not necessarily. but i sure as heck wouldnt be surprised it turned out to be so. it would not be the first time. small pox was intentionally passed on to native americans through the infsmous small pox blankets. we live in a cray cray world

  11. Bimbo

    August 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Our main preoccupation in Africa is witches, wizards and spiritual attack! Africans always feel they are doing so well that enemies feel the need to bring them down( even if they are really not doing well) you will not meet us where people are forward thinking and creatively pro active. And we are so proud of our stupid superstitions.

  12. Endowed

    August 9, 2014 at 12:58 am

    This is really sad

  13. nnek

    August 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Our doctors are still on strike! Each person should think of what they can do to help in their own little way, leave America out of it and ask what have our people tried to do in their own little way? Is it when the situation escalates and gets out of control? Remember there are so many people in Nigeria, God forbid this thing gets out of control.

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