A 70-bed Save the Children-built treatment center has now opened its doors in Liberia and is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC).
Bong county – where the center is located – is one of the five counties in Liberia worst affected by the outbreak, which experts claim could claim up to 1.4 million lives by January.
“We only have a few weeks to stop the spread of the disease spiraling out of control and, for those affected, it’s imperative that care and treatment are made more widely available,” said Mercy Gichuhi, country director for Save the Children in Liberia.
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Save the Children is to build another Ebola treatment unit in Margibi County, which is also heavily affected by the outbreak. These treatment units include safe isolation wards and provide expert medical assessments, care and treatment until the patient’s death or recovery.
They will also reduce pressure on mainstream healthcare services, which outside of Monrovia, have almost all shut down because of the deadly toll they have had on healthcare personnel.
Since August, 20 healthcare workers have died in Margibi alone after they were infected with Ebola. Nursing staff and teams were not sufficiently aware of how to identify Ebola and lacked the protective equipment to assess and treat them safely.
In addition, Save the Children – a humanitarian organization – will open an additional 10 Ebola care units in Liberia. These differ from the more conventional Ebola treatment centers because they are faster to build, less resource intensive, and employ locally-trained staff who are able to assess patients and detect if anyone has the early stages of Ebola. Such care units can be rapidly set up in hot spots for the disease, while facilitating assessment of people presenting with symptoms.