11th Sierra Leone Doctor Dies; Fire Destroys Ebola Supplies

One of Sierra Leone’s most senior doctors died less than one week after contracting Ebola, a health official told the Associated Press. In neighboring Guinea, a fire engulfed a warehouse, destroying a medicine crucial to fighting Ebola in West Africa.

Dr. Victor Willoughby, 67, died Thursday, according to a Dec. 18 article by Clarence Roy-Macauley and Boubacar Diallo. Willoughby’s death occurred just hours after an experimental drug, ZMAb, arrived to help him fight the infection. Willoughby died before doctors could administer him a dose of ZMAb.

The largest Ebola outbreak in history has sickened more than 18,600 people and killed more than 6,900, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. More than 350 health care workers have died.

Ebola Outbreak Helped Shape 2014

Experts weighed in on the Ebola outbreak for The Atlantic website article ‘Lessons From an Outbreak: How Ebola Shaped 2014’ by Julie Beck. A quote from Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, summed up some of the underlying issues present when developing nations confront a deadly outbreak or epidemic.

‘The Ebola outbreak has cast a bright light on how disparities in healthcare infrastructure can profoundly affect the vulnerability of certain populations to the spread of certain infectious diseases,’ Fauci said. ‘A sound healthcare infrastructure that can readily identify people with Ebola infection, isolate them, protect healthcare workers from becoming infected, and do tracing of contacts of infected people who might then spread the virus is critical to prevent widespread outbreaks. If the West African countries stricken by the current Ebola outbreak had a reasonable healthcare infrastructure, the outbreak would not have gotten out of control. The developed world should act in partnership with poorer countries to eliminate this disparity.’

Deployable medical treatment facilities and Ebola isolation units from BLU-MED Response Systems® are being used to fight the infection in Liberia. For more information on BLU-MED Ebola Isolation Units, Mobile Field Hospitals and other rapidly deployable medical facilities, contact us! Email us at inforeq@blu-med.com or call +1-425-739-2795.

Ebola Keeps 5 Million African Children Out of School

In other Ebola news, UNICEF estimates 5 million children between 3 and 17 years old have been kept out of schools in West Africa because of Ebola, according to a Time magazine online report. Schools in Guinea have been closed since March, and schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone never opened after the summer break.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the World Health Organization are reviewing draft protocols from UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health that would allow the children to return to classrooms. UNICEF also teamed with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to train unemployed teachers to go door-to-door and explain how to identify Ebola and prevent its spread.

UNICEF and its partners also created radio programs to offer long-distance learning opportunities for children and their families while they wait for classes to resume. Schools in Guinea hope to reopen in January, and schoolchildren could be back in school by March in Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to Alexandria Sifferlin’s article  ‘5 Million Kids Aren’t in School Because of Ebola.’

– See more at: BLU-MED’s Disaster Response

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