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Sierra Leone ‘not able to deal’ with Ebola outbreak, says Doctors Without Borders

August 5th, 2014
02:57 PM ET

By Mick Krever and Annabel Archer, CNN

Sierra Leone’s government “is not able to deal with this outbreak” of Ebola, an emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen from the epicenter of the largest-ever outbreak of the virus.

“We need much more help from international organizations – the WHO, the CDC, other organizations – to come to support the government,” Anja Wolz said from Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

There is a desperate need for international organizations “to send more infection control specialists, to send more epidemiologists here in Kailahun District.”

The Ebola outbreak is growing. There are eight new suspected cases in Lagos, Nigeria, a thousand miles from the original outbreak in West Africa.

British Airways has suspended all flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the rapidly deteriorating situation. Two Americans infected with the virus have been flown back to the United States for treatment.

Ebola’s spread can be fought with relatively basic hygienic precautions, but Wolz described the very real difficulties medical workers are still facing in fighting the virus, months after the outbreak started.

“We have around 250 community health workers who are going village by village to give the right message to the population, because still we have unsafe burials; people who are doing the burial without disinfection of the body.”

“Still we have patients who are hiding themselves. Still we have patients or contacts of patients who are running away because they are afraid.”

With a population of 470,000 in the area, many more people are needed to help spread the “right message” about fighting Ebola.

“It’s really tragic,” she said. “On Sunday we got the last four people from one community. The whole community died [of] Ebola or is now in our case management center.”

“From one community we got in the last two weeks around thirty patients, because they were attending unsafe burials – thirty patients from a community of two hundred people … it’s a disaster.”

“And especially we have also to look about the future, because now the impact is [that] everybody gets sick, but who is caring about the sick people? It’s the young people, it’s the women. Now we have a lot of people who cannot do agriculture. What is the future? What [will] we have to eat here in the future also?”

MORE: CNN travels to Ebola epicenter

Filed under:  Ebola • Latest Episode • Sierra Leone
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Seray Turay

    Thanks for your good work Doctors Without borders.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:48 am | Reply
  2. Turay benjamin

    This is really serious!We pray that God will come to our aid.May God empower,protect and keep the workers safe as they help those who have contacted God Give grace to their families.

    August 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Lisa

      Yeah. I'm sure that's really going to help.

      August 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  3. Arthur C-Williams

    I applaud the relentless effort of the Doctors Without Borders and other international medical organisations presently helping the Ebola affected West African nations.

    August 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  4. Mik

    "Ebola’s spread can be fought with relatively basic hygienic precautions"... really? so you're saying the doctors and nurses who have become infected don't know that "Ebola's spread can be fought with relatively basic hygienic precautions"? I find that VERY hard to believe – oh look! There's Santa Clause. I believe all of you are lying to the general public. EBOLA IS VERY CONTAGIOUS. Now stop spreading lies. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

    August 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • Sam

      You're an idiot. Health workers are taking the proper precautions based on what is available in-country. It is almost certain that health workers are picking up the virus while removing their PPE. Normally, you would go through a decon/chemical shower, including UV light exposure, then strip your spacesuit in a methodical manner, before entering another shower for further decontamination. In this case, health workers are being sprayed with bleach, stepping into a bucket of bleach water and removing PPE. They are lacking a second shower and additional decontamination measures. There is simply no infrastructure available in Africa to properly manage exiting of the wards/laboratories. Additionally, most of these responders have been working day and night for weeks on end. People are exhausted. Fatigue and lack of infrastructure will eventually spell disaster. With Ebola, it only take a little bit of virus to enter your body and you have a very serious problem.

      August 6, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Reply
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