According to a recent report released by WHO (World Health Organization), close to 7,000 people died and over 16,000 were infected by the current Ebola outbreak. It was also highlighted that Sierra Leone will need extra treatment help and it is not known who will be able to bring in the necessary extra staff.
While in Guinea and Liberia the infection rates are declining or stabilizing, in Sierra Leone the number of infected people is growing at the rate of close to 500 new cases identified weekly.
Most of the cases in Sierra Leona appear concentrated in Freetown, the country’s capital, and surrounding areas, with many cases also appearing in the Port Loko district.
Ebola Emergency Response UN Mission head, Anthony Banbury, declared:
“The critical gap right now in those locations are beds. It’s as simple that: We need more beds. We’re concerned that the partners who have signed up to operate the beds won’t be able to operate them in the numbers and timeline really required.”
During this month, 5 British built centers for treatment will be open. This will triple the bed capacity. It was reported that one center is now operational in the capital.
Sierra Leone also faces problems with burials. Ebola victims’ bodies are contagious and it was highlighted that around half of the new cases appeared because of coming into contact with an infected corpse.
The current cultural practices require the bodies of the dead to be washed. The bodies of women should be prepared by women and there are not many in burial teams. Extra burial teams are necessary.
The UN initially hoped that by today we would have 70% of all cases isolated with 70% of the bodies of the infected death being buried. Unfortunately, this did not happen and although progress is made, more help is required.
“As long as there’s one person with Ebola out there, then the crisis isn’t over and Ebola is a risk to the people of that community, that country, this sub-region, this continent, this world. Our goal and what we will achieve is getting it down to zero, but there’s no doubt it’s going to be a long, hard fight.”