West African healthcare systems reel as Ebola toll hits 932

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Spain’s Health Ministry denied that one of the nuns, born in Equatorial Guinea but holding Spanish nationality, had tested positive for Ebola. The nun is Congolese.[eap_ad_2]

“We hope they can evacuate us. It would be marvelous, because we know that, if they take us to Spain, at least we will be in good hands,” Pajares told CNN in Spanish this week.

More 60 healthcare workers have died fighting the virus, a heavy blow in a region where doctors are already in chronically short supply. Two U.S. health workers from the Christian medical charity Samaritan’s Purse and missionary group SIM USA caught the virus in Monrovia and are receiving treatment in an Atlanta hospital.

The two saw their conditions improve by varying degrees in Liberia after they received an experimental drug, a representative for the charity said. Three of the world’s leading Ebola specialists urged the WHO to offer people in West Africa the chance to take experimental drugs.

A spokesman said the Liberian government would be willing to allow in-country clinical trials.

At a news conference in Washington, asked whether the United States planned to make the experimental drug available to affected African nations, U.S. President Barack Obama said he lacked enough information to give it a green light.

“We’ve got to let the science guide us and I don’t think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful,” the president said at a news conference at the end of an African summit. “The Ebola virus both currently and in the past is controllable if you have a strong public health infrastructure in place.”

He added: “We’re focusing on the public health approach right now, but I will continue to seek information about what we’re learning about these drugs going forward.”

Ebola, a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, kills more half of the people who contract it. Victims suffer from fever, vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding.

Many hospitals and clinics have been forced to close across Liberia, often because health workers are afraid of contracting the virus or because of abuse by locals who think the disease is a government conspiracy.

In an effort to control the disease’s spread, Liberia has deployed the army to implement controls and isolate severely affected communities, an operation code-named “White Shield”.

The information ministry said on Wednesday that soldiers were being deployed to the rural counties of Lofa, Bong, Cape Mount and Bomi to set up checkpoints and implement tracing measures on residents suspected of contact victims.

Neighboring Sierra Leone said it has implemented new restrictions at the and that it asking passengers to take a temperature test. In the east, soldiers set up roadblocks to limit access to affected areas, MSF’s Lorenzi said.

Some airlines, such as British Airways and Emirates, have halted flights to affected countries, while many expatriates are leaving, officials said. “We’ve seen international workers leaving the country in numbers,” Liberia’s Finance Minister Amara Konneh told Reuters.

Randgold Resources, which mines gold in neighboring Mali and Ivory Coast, advised its workers not to travel to the affected countries.India and Greece advised their citizens against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria and said they would take extra measures at entry ports. (Reuters)[eap_ad_3]