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Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea

Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea

Sydney (01 Sept. 2014): Twelve years on after the senseless civil wars that threw some West African nations into a state of inertia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria are again faced with the first ever outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease started in the Republic of Guinea and has spread to Liberia, and neighbouring Sierra Leone, which sources confirm, has the highest number of confirmed cases. International and local media already replete with news that this viral outbreak in the Mano River Union countries of West Africa is the deadliest and most widespread in the history of the Ebola disease. As at end of August 2014, there has been over 3,069 reported cases and over 1,552 deaths in the sub-region. Over 240 health care workers, including four major doctors in Sierra Leone and two from Liberia, have met an untimely death. In Sierra Leone, there is only one medical doctor for 50,000 patients, according to WHO statistics. There has been an exponential increase in Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past three weeks and if urgent steps are not taken, cases of the rapidly spreading Ebola virus could far exceed the 20,000 projected by WHO in nine months. As at time of writing, the first Ebola case has already been reported in Senegal making it the fifth West African country to be affected by the scourge.

Efforts to contain this lethal virus already show that public health infrastructures in Sierra Leone and Liberia do not have the capacity for response. The situation is made worse by the shortage of medical staff and basic protective gears like gloves and face-masks to prevent and control the disease. The lack of resources to address health facility transmissions; tracing the sources of contact; and public education on prevention and control could prove very crucial for containment of the Ebola Virus Disease.

The WHO, National Health Authorities, Medicines San Frontiers (MSF), the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and other stakeholders have been actively involved in stemming down the bewilderment and extraordinary challenges posed by this toxic virus. The number of victims keeps increasing. The economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have faced dramatic downturn since WHO declared the crisis a public health emergency of international concern. The sharp fall in economic activities like farming, mining, trade and commerce has painfully increased the polluted pool of poverty in these three West African nations where, Liberia and Sierra Leone are just emerging from civil wars.

The Sierra Leone Community extend sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Australia, organisations, friends, and well wishers for their continued support in curbing this mysterious virus in our sub-region. With global commitment and the power of humanity, the ultimate victory against killer Ebola is certain. The Sierra Leone Community is willing to work with any partnership aimed at providing hope for humanity.

For further information on the Sierra Leone Community action on Ebola, please contact: Edmondson Sonny Cole, Chairman, Sierra Leone Community Council (SLCC) on 0412 481 535; or Raymond Bangura, Secretary, Sierra Leone Ebola Action Group in Australia (SEAGA) on 0412 545 690.

Sierra Leone Community Council NSW
Mobile: 0412481535

Email: sierraleonecommunitycouncil@hotmail.com

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