West African health centers can’t keep up with Ebola outbreak

The number of new Ebola cases is growing faster than the ability of health officials to handle them, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday.

“In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in the Ebola-specific treatment centers,” said Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general. “Today, there is not one single bed available for the treatment of an Ebola patient in the entire country of Liberia.”

At least 2,400 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the outbreak has been concentrated, Chan said. Cases have also been reported in nearby Nigeria and Senegal.

This is considered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The World Health Organization said Monday the rapid spread of the virus in Liberia shows no sign of slowing. “The number of new cases is increasing exponentially,” the WHO said, calling the situation a “dire emergency with … unprecedented dimensions of human suffering.”

This week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will donate $50 million to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

To help ease some of the burden on West Africa’s already overtaxed medical system, the United States announced Tuesday it will send $10 million in additional funds. That’s in addition to the $100 million Washington has already sent to help fight the outbreak. USAID also announced it will make $75 million in extra funds available.

[CNN]

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