Via FrontPageAfrica, a long report: Liberia’s Ebola Quagmire: More Patients, Less Beds, 694 Dead. Click through for the full article and a slide show. Excerpt:
Monrovia - In the newest Ebola Management Center set up by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a man lay on a plastic sheet protected mattress. His eyes are red and his face is pale; he has no shirt on and he turns from side to side, too weak to move and too sick to call for help with food or water.
One of the nurses in the other partition of the isolation center through a doorway to where the man is laying orders that he be given water mixed with Oral Rehydration Salt. The man is among some 120 patients at the center who are probable, suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola. He lies on the confirmed side.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the United States, Centers for Disease Control is shown around the center and the smell of the high concentration of Chlorine fills the air as the team moves around to get a firsthand view of what is happening. One look at the patients brings despair and the only hope they have is the mobile phones that those who are not too weak to speak are allowed to use to communicate with their families in the outside world. Some of them look as though they feel trapped by a disease that offers no hope for tomorrow.
“This is a difficult situation for them. We allow them to use their phones because they need to communicate with their families out there. But this is the safest place for them to be-away from the rest of the world where they pose no harm to others,” MSF’s Tim Shenk, MSF Press officer, said in a conversation with journalists on Wednesday at the center.
Rapidly Scaling up Shenk says when the patients leave the isolation center, all their belongings are no longer usable, so fire is set for them, including cell phones for fear they might be infected with the deadly Ebola virus. He said the center’s 120-bed capacity is already overwhelmed and the MSF is putting up more structures to increase the capacity to be able to take on more patients.
On the other side of the partition in what seems an open field, health workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) hand out food in disposable bowls to patients. A woman dressed in PPE holds the hand of a young child about three-years-old. She has stripped off his clothes because he was burning with fever and very sick.
The MSF center is the largest in the country at the moment, but the organization states that it is rapidly scaling up its operations to increase the capacity of the area to meet the demands as more patients continue to come in.
“As the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to be chaotic and entirely inadequate. In its first week, MSF’s newest Ebola management center—known as ELWA3—in the capital, Monrovia, is already at capacity with 120 patients, and a further expansion is underway,” said the organization in a release issued Wednesday.
“Meanwhile, in the north of the country, patients continue to flow into the newly rehabilitated Ebola management center in Foya.” MSF stated that the international response to the West African Ebola outbreak has been "chaotic and entirely inadequate".
The group plans to construct three additional tents with space for 40 more beds. Doctors Without Borders' guidelines were written for Ebola treatment centers with just 20 beds.
Numbers ‘Unlike Anything We’ve Seen’
"We have to constantly adapt" to address a crisis of this scale, Lindis Hurum, the group's emergency coordinator in Monrovia, said in a statement. "The numbers of patients we are seeing is unlike anything we've seen in previous outbreaks," Hurum said.
It stated that the new treatment center can slow the spread of the outbreak by isolating patients, preventing them from infecting friends and family. But added that overworked health workers have had to reduce the level of care they provide, according to Doctors Without Borders. They can no longer administer intravenous treatments, for example, which could limit doctors' ability to help dehydrated patients.