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US Opens Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia


A child is vaccinated by a health worker at the Pipeline Community Health Center, situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, on November 3, 2014.

A child is vaccinated by a health worker at the Pipeline Community Health Center, situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, on November 3, 2014.

The United States has opened the first of several Ebola treatment units it is building in Liberia.

The new clinic opened Monday in Tubmanburg, about 60 kilometers north of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. A U.S. Agency for International Development statement said up to 17 such units will be constructed in Liberia, including three that will be operated by the International Organization for Migration.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people infected with Ebola appears to be decreasing in Monrovia, but more cases are being detected in other areas of the West African country.

Since the first case of Ebola was reported in March, more than 2,700 people in Liberia have lost their lives to the deadly virus.

Each of the new units will have 100 beds. The U.S. also will help will train medical workers and burial teams to staff the buildings.

Outbreak far from over

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders warned the international community on Monday not to become complacent over the decline of new Ebola cases in Liberia. It said the outbreak is “far from over and new hot spots could emerge.”

The group, also known by its french acronym MSF, said, “In Liberia, the international response is finally getting off the ground.”

The group is now calling for rapid response teams to deal with new hot spots and the “restarting” of Liberia’s health care system, which, it said, “has virtually collapsed because on the epidemic.”

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone government reported a dramatic spike in new cases of Ebola. On Sunday, 111 new cases were registered, according to official figures released by Sierra Leone's ministry of health and sanitation.

The United Nations has warned that cases in Sierra Leone are underreported by as much as 50 percent.

Nico Heijenberg, emergency coordinator for MSF Switzerland, is in the Liberia capital Monrovia. He spoke with VOA’s Joe De Capua.

Click on the link below to listen to full interview.

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