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WHO says Liberia, Guinea hit Ebola goals, but Sierra Leone did not

The World Health Organization said Liberia and Guinea reached Dec. 1 goals of isolating 70 percent of people infected with Ebola and safely burying 70 percent of the people who succumbed to the disease, according to John Heilprin’s Dec. 1 article for the Associated Press.

Sierra Leone missed hitting its goals, but the WHO’s Dr. Bruce Aylward said he expected the West African nation to hit both 70-percent marks in the coming weeks. In Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, the leader of that country’s Ebola response team, retired Maj. Alfred Palo Conteh, said authorities need more isolation units to treat the infected. Conteh added that he expected about 400 beds to arrive in the next two weeks.

On Dec. 2, Doctors Without Borders criticized the world’s slow response to the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, according to Lisa Carroll’s report on The Guardian’s website. The medical group’s international president, Dr. Joanne Liu, said it was “extremely disappointing that states with biological-disaster response capacities have chosen not to deploy them.”

BLU-MED Response Systems Ebola Isolation Units are being used to fight the spread of the infection in Liberia. Sold through MD Medicus and financed by Action Medeor, a German medical aid organization, two 22-bed isolation units were deployed to the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.

Doctors Without Borders (DWB) said more doctors and nurses are needed, and international groups need to be more agile as infection rates increase in rural areas and continue to spike in Sierra Leone.

“In the absence of adequate facilities to isolate, diagnose and manage Ebola cases, Sierra Leonean healthcare workers are struggling,” DWB said. “[We are] deeply concerned about contamination of uninfected patients and healthcare workers where staff are not necessarily trained to manage Ebola patients and where infection control measures cannot be assured.”

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