Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Liberia opens one of largest Ebola treatment centres

31 October 2014, 20:58

Monrovia - Liberia's president opened one of the country's largest Ebola treatment centers in Monrovia on Friday, remembering the days when "the dying, the sick, the dead who could not picked up on time" as officials hope the disease is on the decline in this West African country.

American and U.N. officials as well as Cuban doctors were among the crowd as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf opened the treatment center, which can currently hold 200 patients and could eventually treat as many as 300. With the opening of the center, an Ebola treatment unit at JFK Medical Center has been closed. Many people with other diseases had been nervous about going to the nation's largest referral hospital, and officials hope they will now come back.

The comes as fewer people are showing up for treatment at various centers. Officials are not sure how to interpret that. Some believe it's a sign that the Ebola outbreak is finally on the wane in Liberia, but others believe Sirleaf's order that the bodies of Ebola victims in the capital be cremated has led to people with symptoms hiding at home, because cremation violates traditions.

Also read: Africans worst responders in Ebola crisis

For example, Doctors Without Borders, known as MSF, said that as of Tuesday there were around 80 patients in its 250-bed facility. "MSF teams are looking into the reasons for this; a widespread aversion to the government's mandatory cremation policy, poor ambulance and referral systems, changes in behavior, and other factors may play a role," the aid group said.

Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, who heads the government's Ebola response, told The Associated Press the JFK Ebola medical team and a team of Cuban doctors will be in charge of the new center, located in Congo Town in eastern Monrovia.

The World Health Organization said this week that the rate of infection in Liberia appears to be falling but warned that the response effort must be kept up or the trend could be reversed.

Foreign aid is now pouring into Liberia and other West African countries hard hit by Ebola. The United States has promised up to 4,000 American troops for Liberia and is building 17 treatment centers and helping to train thousands of health care workers.

More than 13,700 people have been sickened by the disease, and nearly 5,000 have died. The outbreak has hit Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea hardest and all three countries have resorted to extraordinary measures to combat it.

Sierra Leone has had a state of emergency in place for three months that bans public gatherings and, at one point, the entire country was locked down for three days to seek out hidden cases. There have been rumors that the emergency measures would be lifted, but Attorney General and Justice Minister Franklyn Bai Kargbo told AP on Friday that they are still in force. By law, they can last for 12 months and parliament put no time limit on them, he said.

While the disease is beginning to let up in some of Sierra Leone's eastern districts, infections are continuing in the capital and surrounding areas.

Despite some signs of hope in Liberia, many officials warn that the fight cannot be let up. Sirleaf said the memory of sick and dying people with no place to go is still too fresh.

"We can all imagine those early days when journalists went into the streets and into the communities and took those pictures that were put on all the television screens all over the world of the dying, the sick, the dead who could not picked up on time and portrayed us as a nation in despair, a nation confused not knowing this enemy with which it had to confront," she said.

Despite those dark days, Liberia health workers fought on, she said

"To our health workers," she said, "we owe you a lot for the courage you continue to bring forth."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...