Ebola Dead Can’t Be Buried Amid Shortage of Body Bags




The bodies of some Ebola victims in the region of Liberia hit hardest by the outbreak can’t be buried because there are no body bags, adding to the obstacles the West African nation faces as it tries to tame the virus. The northern county of Lofa, which borders Guinea and Sierra Leone, has “absolutely no body bags,” Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said in a statement dated Aug. 17 and posted on its website on Tuesday. The government also has only a small fraction of the protective clothing, chlorine powder and mattresses it needs, according to the statement. Liberia, which has fewer doctors per person than any West African nation, has had more Ebola deaths than any of the other three nations affected by the ongoing epidemic. A lack of supplies and experienced health-care workers, who sometimes don’t wear protective equipment properly, are contributing to infections among medical personnel in the worst Ebola outbreak on record, the World Health Organisation said.

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[eap_ad__1] There is “a serious shortage of health workers,” Nyka Alexander, an outside spokeswoman for the Geneva-based WHO, said in an e-mail. “This puts the limited number of health workers who are available and responding to this outbreak at risk — when people are tired, they are more likely to make mistakes.” While goggles and boots are disinfected and reused, gloves, surgical gowns and scrubs are destroyed after one use, Alexander said. Lofa County has recorded almost half of Liberia’s 862 Ebola cases so far, and 213 of the nation’s 481 deaths, the ministry said today. Liberia has 51 doctors for a population of 4.4 million people, DaMina Advisors LLP wrote in a note this month. While Liberia and Sierra Leone are now bearing the brunt of the epidemic, the WHO said on Tuesday there are “encouraging signs” in Nigeria, where a dozen people were infected after a Liberian official arrived there on a plane, and in Guinea, where the outbreak started in December. As of Aug. 16, there have been 2,240 Ebola cases in the outbreak, with 1,229 deaths, the WHO said Tuesday.

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