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Number of Ebola infections passes 17,000

05 December 2014

by a staff reporter


Survived: Michael Mawanda, a Ugandan doctor, speaks in a press interview in Kampala on Tuesday, after returning from Germany, where he had been treated after contracting Ebola while working in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown. Dr Mawanda described some disturbing factors that exacerbated the epidemic in Sierra Leone, including the removal by relatives of patients from the hospital where he worked, risking spreading the virus further 

Survived: Michael Mawanda, a Ugandan doctor, speaks in a press interview in Kampala on Tuesday, after returning from Germany, where he ha...

AS THE number of people infected by the Ebola virus passed 17,000 this week, the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that the international response was still "patchy and slow" and falling "dangerously short of expectations", and that local people and charities were left to pick up the pieces.

Foreign governments have concentrated their help on building clinics, but were not supplying the medical experts needed to staff them, the charity said. It called for more flexible support to respond to the crisis differently as it changed across a region where the "hot- spots" of the outbreak were constantly moving.

The international president of MSF, Dr Joanne Liu, said: "It is extremely disappointing that states with biological-disaster response capacities have chosen not to deploy them. How is it that the international community has left the response to Ebola - now a transnational threat - up to doctors, nurses, and charity workers?"

The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier in the week that the 60-day goals it set itself for tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa had largely been met. The WHO has set a target of isolating and treating 70 per cent of patients, and of safely burying 70 per cent of bodies in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea - the worst-affected countries - by 1 December.

An assistant director-general at WHO, Dr Bruce Aylward, said on Monday that only the treatment figure in Sierra Leone had fallen below the mark. Its latest figures suggest that nearly 6000 people have so far died in this epidemic.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in a video message to a meeting of the World Council of Churches and UN leaders in Geneva, said that the virus struck a challenge at the "very heart of what it is to be human". He spoke of the "deep sorrow" that he encountered on a visit to West Africa last month, where he met the chief of staff of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response in Ghana, Prosper Bani.

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on Ebola:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDTDimInfUY

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