MONROVIA (AA) – Even though new Ebola cases are being reported on a daily basis in Liberia, local officials say tangible progress has been made in the fight against the deadly virus.
“Our response has intensified; we have made several gains in all the thematic areas,” Assistant Minister for Preventive Services Tolbert Nyenswah told Anadolu Agency.
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed at least 3,083 people in West Africa, including 1,830 in Liberia alone, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.
According to Nyenswah, the process of collecting the dead and the sick from communities across the country has improved in recent months. Previously, dead bodies were being left on the street due to inadequate transportation and emergency services.
Nyenswah also cited improvements of community-based activities in terms of mobilization and awareness, along with active case-finding at the community level.
The government is also working on a new project, dubbed “Community Case Ebola Care.” The campaign aims to take treatment and support to local communities by distributing emergency kits that contain sanitary materials, such as gloves, gowns, masks and chlorine.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, has increased the number of Ebola testing centers from one to six, reducing delays in releasing test results.
Other areas of improvement, Nyenswah said, include an increase in the number of beds in Montserrado, the city which has become the second epicenter of the virus following Lofa County, where the outbreak was first reported.
The number of beds in Montserrado now stands at 500, Nyenswah said, adding that the number was expected to reach 1,000 within the next month.
Monrovia currently hosts six Ebola treatment units, while two more are now under construction, the assistant minister said.
“Our response rate for picking up sick people has improved. We are getting more sick people into treatment units from communities across the country,” Nyenswah asserted.
He believes the recent deployment of 3,000 U.S. troops in the country will help Liberia’s struggle against Ebola.
In response to Liberian aid requests, U.S. President Barack Obama has sent 3,000 U.S. troops to Liberia to help authorities there combat the outbreak.
Washington also plans to set up 17 healthcare facilities – of 100 beds each – to isolate and treat patients, along with a facility in which it plans to train 500 healthcare workers per week.
Four U.S. C-17 military aircraft have recently flown into Liberia carrying U.S. military equipment and personnel.
In coming days, additional military aircraft – bringing yet more personnel and supplies – is expected to arrive in Monrovia.
Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It can also reportedly spread through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the virus.
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