World 'Losing' Ebola Battle: Doctors Without Borders

Top doc tells UN world has done nothing to stem spread
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2014 11:33 AM CDT
Doctors Without Borders: World 'Losing' Ebola Battle
Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

The picture of Ebola in West Africa is apocalyptic: Infected bodies decompose in the street, 150 health workers have died, overflowing clinics turn away the sick, to say nothing of food shortages and riots. And the disease is spreading at an unprecedented rate, Doctors Without Borders President Joanne Liu told the UN yesterday, warning, "The clock is ticking and Ebola is winning. Every day of inaction means more deaths and the slow collapse of societies." So far, more than 1,500 people have died in what the CDC has declared the world's first Ebola epidemic, the AP reports, and Liu says UN member states have done nothing but ignore pleas for help and work to protect themselves, the Guardian adds.

States "have a political and humanitarian responsibility to offer a desperately needed, concrete response," she says, calling for a vast response, as per BBC and the Guardian: Liu says infected countries need field hospitals and isolation wards, trained health care workers, air support, mobile labs for diagnosis, air bridges to move medical personnel, triage centers, corpse management, and hygiene promotion. This is the only way to stop the virus, she warns—a virus "the world is losing the battle to contain." In other news:

  • The Ebola outbreak has caused health systems to collapse, meaning common health issues like pregnancy, malaria, and diarrhea are killing people, Liu says.
  • Nurses in Liberia have gone on strike, demanding better pay and protective equipment.
  • The quarantine of entire towns, closing of land borders and sea ports, and flight suspensions have stalled food imports, required to feed people in West Africa. Food prices have soared.
  • Ebola has spread to the Congo, where 31 people have died, the BBC adds.
(Read more Ebola stories.)

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