The Ebola epidemic has already claimed 350 lives as it spreads through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The epidemic in west Africa is already dubbed as “out of control” by the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
According to the MSF, the epidemic can be contained only if the leaders such as the politicians, religious authorities and aid agencies hastily improve their response to the unprecedented outbreak.
Currently, the total number of confirmed and probable cases are 567. The disease is confirmed to be in more than 60 locations across the three mentioned countries and has the capacity to kill up to 90% of those who become infected. The first case was reported earlier this year in March in Guinea.
MSF is already struggling to cope with accommodating the infected. The director of operations, Dr. Bart Janssens said that they have already treated 470 patients, but the situation seems to be increasingly difficult.
“The epidemic is out of control. Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites,” he said.
He also added that Ebola must already be seen as a public health threat throughout west Africa. It is the negligence or the complacency in addressing this issue that makes its scale larger. WHO confirms this.
The World Health Organzation pointed out that failure to gauge the severity of the initial outbreak and a relaxed approach to counter-measures was a factor to having a “second wave” of the disease.
Pierre Formenty, a specialist from the WHO said the disease was underestimated by many. “When the epidemic started, it was a little underestimated, so that the states took a while to really prepare themselves,” he said.
“The WHO, the affected countries and their neighboring countries must deploy the resources necessary for an epidemic of this scale. In particular, qualified medical staff need to be made available, training in how to treat Ebola needs to be organised and, contact tracing and awareness-raising activities among the population need to be stepped up,” he stated.
Janssens said Ebola now had to be viewed as a public health issue throughout west Africa.
The MSF is calling on the leaders of the countries to do more to battle the disease. This includes the civil society, the political leaders and religious authorities. They do not seem to recognize the impact and the scale of the epidemic on their respective countries. There are still no infection-control measures in place.