Faced with Ebola, West Africa Health System Has ‘Collapsed’

By Jake Lefferman

Aug 10, 2014 1:01pm

 

As the death toll rises, healthcare workers on the ground need protective gear and resources to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, said Dr. Frank Glover  president of the U.S.-based organization SHIELD.

“The health system has completely collapsed,” Glover told ABC’s Martha Raddatz today on “This Week.”

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Earlier this week, Glover told a congressional subcommittee that 95 percent of expatriate doctors fled the country when the outbreak hit. Medical staff lack protective gear like gloves, gowns and goggles and patients are turned away because centers are overcapacity, he said.

“Most patients are dying with Ebola in their communities because there is simply no where to go,” said Glover, who has spent years as a medical missionary in Liberia.

The World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency Friday as new cases popped up in Europe, Canada and Nigeria. But the United States is not in immediate danger, said Glover, because the health system is well resourced and has isolation centers nationwide.

“This isn’t something we should panic about, but it’s something we should be concerned about,” Glover told Raddatz.

This is not the first outbreak of Ebola in Africa but is particularly difficult to contain because of the areas impacted, former U.S. Ambassador to Congo and Nigeria Robin Sanders told Raddatz.

“This is population density in Monrovia and Liberia, certainly in Nigeria the population lives very closely together. So it’s very difficult to quarantine,” said Sanders, who joined Glover on the panel.

More than 1,700 are infected and more than 960 died from Ebola  in West Africa in the recent outbreak.

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