Via STAT, a discouraging but unsurprising report: As Ebola wanes, spike in infectious diseases hits Liberia. Excerpt:
MONROVIA, Liberia — The Ebola crisis here may be over, but its impact can be seen at health clinics across the country. Running water is sporadic. Drugs are in short supply. And with the medical system still reeling, Liberia is now recording a spike in cases of tuberculosis and other treatable infections.
One in every 300 people here now has tuberculosis, making Liberia one of the countries with the highest TB burdens in the world. Before Ebola, the cure rate for the deadly bacterium stood at about 55 percent. Now, in some parts of the country, it’s closer to 28 percent.
Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, writing this month in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, estimate that during the year-long Ebola outbreak, an extra 600 Liberians died from TB because the health care system was so crippled; another 1,000 died from HIV and malaria. That’s on top of the 4,800 killed at the hands of the Ebola virus itself.
A year has passed since the outbreak started tapering off, but the situation remains dire. At Liberia’s national TB hospital, on the outskirts of the capital, there is one doctor to care for 105 inpatients. Another 50 to 60 outpatients arrive every day, and the nurses — who number fewer than 25, alongside four physician assistants — cannot cope with the increased load.
Electricity is limited, the roof is bowed and leaky, and empty window frames bring in mosquitoes and rain. “Just from the physical appearance of the hospital, anyone who comes here can tell that something is wrong,” said hospital administrator Lucelia Michael.