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Ebola doctors welcome U.S. effort, emphasize growing problem

September 16th, 2014
03:22 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The organization that has led the effort to fight Ebola on Tuesday said newly announced American aid is dearly needed, but stressed that the outbreak is far from under control.

“We’ve been calling this outbreak unprecedented for six months, and it’s only in the past few weeks that the international community seems to be beginning to mobilize.” Medicins Sans Frontiers General Director Christopher Stokes told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

With 530 beds across the three countries most affected – Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea – Medicins Sans Frontiers, or Doctors Without Borders, represents 80% of the Ebola-fighting capacity, Stokes said.

“We’ve been denouncing for months the international inaction – we’ve called it a coalition of inaction around Ebola.”

The number of cases is doubling every three of four weeks, he said, but those numbers tell only part of the story.

“One, you have a lot of people who are dying and who are not reporting to facilities.”

“Two, you have to imagine Liberia – the impact of Ebola is engulfing the country, especially in Monrovia. … I’ve worked in a lot of war zones, and it does remind me of this because the schools have closed, the borders have closed, most airlines no longer fly there, the ships no longer berth, and the hospitals have closed.”

“And next to this, in our own treatment center … we’re overwhelmed. And in fact we have to refuse every day, and this is what our teams find the hardest.”

The American Government announced on Tuesday that it was hugely stepping up its efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak, sending about 3,000 military personnel, setting up medical facilities and training local health workers.

“If they deploy in two weeks they have to open very quickly, because if you arrive in two weeks and it takes another two, three, four weeks to prepare the center, then that is definitely too slow.”

Health workers have faced many difficulties fighting the virus – not only because of a lack of medical facilities, but also cultural traditions that have led many to needlessly expose themselves to the virus.

Stokes said that problem has significantly diminished, but it has not lessened the pressure on health workers.

“Identifying cases is one element, but you have to bring them back into proper isolation and treatment centers.”

“The worst you can do is actually concentrate patients that have symptoms – these symptoms could be malaria – with real Ebola-infected patients.… the risk is that you will amplify and spread the disease.”

Time is of the essence.

“My feeling having come back from Liberia is if it’s still concentrated in these three countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia – we have a chance to get this under control, if the deploying is quick.”

“But the longer we wait, the higher the risk that it will spread to Ivory Coast, Senegal, etc., and then I find it quite hard to see how we’re going to get on top of this.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Latest Episode
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Johnny

    Where are the highly indebted western nations going to get all this thousands of blond pink skinned highly payed do-all-gooder medics to bravely go save all those blackies so they can come by the millions in boats knocking on our shores ?

    September 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • faster

      You have a real problem with your hate.

      The virus doesn't care what your race is, or who you hate. To Ebola particles, you are just MEAT.

      And if we just go ahead and let those "blackies" die off like mad, we're inviting the virus to become airborne. If it does that, it would be a great accomplishment if you could avoid catching it yourself. Because most people in the world WILL catch it.

      Not that it'd be any big loss if you did, but that's still unacceptable, because you could give it to other people.

      September 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • Stentor

      Johnny, you're nothing but a hateful, spiteful, racist jerk POS. Go pound sand up your nether orifice, then go eat a nice big bag of salty rodent penises.

      September 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  2. Bernard Kouchner

    The correct and respectful spelling is "medecins sans frontieres". I've removed the accents, you seem to be confused enough already.

    September 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  3. Mat

    They have been asking for proper assistance from a long time. Don't know the reasons – Is it greed, rascism, or what? Why have they taken so long after the deaths of hundreds of people including health care workers [note: not U.S. citizens]?

    September 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  4. Max

    80% of the entire effort. My god. Massive credit should be given to Medicins Sans Frontiers for their enormous leading efforts. They are truly a remarkable organization. They are mostly funded by European and some other developed countries but it`s still NGO stuff and we need governments to fund it for more and wider actions to stop this giant outbreak.

    But massive criticism of many Africans should be given as well. Enough is enough. These are adults responsible for their own health. Many don`t even tell officials if another dead guy is laying close to their home with children. And lets not forget the population in Africa on many levels is growing much too fast. Massive amounts of people even trying to reach Europe creating large problems for Europe on top. And than they have to help them stay alive as well? As they and the West in general have been doing for decades to the tune of tens of Billions per year. Africans need to take their own responsibility. Streets in the West are not made of gold. Money does not grow on trees. People have to work their asses of to get ahead. And it doesn't seem most Africans trying to reach Western countries illegally understand that. At all.

    September 16, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • faster

      Blame their educational system, then. Without access to education, people tend to be ignorant. But you show a good amount of ignorance yourself, so education alone can't solve everything.

      Even in the U.S. the money spent on education is pitiful. Which is why we have so many abysmally ignorant people.

      When Ebola gets here, we'll see how disastrously our own levels of ignorance have made us vulnerable to it. It won't take long, so you won't even need to invoke much patience.

      Nor will it matter one bit if you get sick and hold forth online with righteous condemnations of others who are to "blame" for it. You'll be too busy trying not to turn into a puddle of bloody goo.

      Throwing money at this epidemic IS vital. Even more vital is getting PEOPLE, who fully understand the dangers, to tend to the epidemic, working with a deadly virus all around them. How are you going to get enough people willing to risk their lives every single day to fight such a gruesome and inexorable killer? Shall we force some people to do it?

      Somehow, I can't envision YOU volunteering.

      I'd go, but I'd be no good to them, since I can't walk.

      September 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  5. bert

    What is more important : Ebola fighting or ISIS fighting . If you had to make a choice, wich one would you engage first ???

    September 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Reply
    • Bob


      September 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Reply
      • Garth

        The two do not compare. One is an incurable disease that is threatening the world, whilst the other is merely a bug that has infected a small amount of people.

        September 16, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
  6. Mike

    The African continent has trillions in assets and resources, but rarely do any leaders come from there to make anything but a corrupt government. Now they're so infected and contagious we have to pour millions in and send soldiers to protect ourselves from their contagion.

    September 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  7. roncph

    I feel deeply for these folks - but please tell me why this is our problem?? Seems like natural selection to me !

    September 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  8. roncph

    Max - another do nothing do gooder - Damn, you disgust me !!!!!!!!!!1

    September 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  9. roncph

    Max - sorry - didn't read your post all the way thru before I commented - you said it all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  10. Olusola

    I'm an African, to be sincere I completely agree with Max. Africans need to wake from their sleep. Why the whole world should also be victim of Africans. Africa has all it takes to be great, yet they cry for help every time. I think it's time for Africa to stand on its feet.

    September 17, 2014 at 12:23 am | Reply
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