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?”