LIBERIA: Donors fund Ebola supplies,as fears grow for health workers confronting the Ebola outbreak

A donor-funded aid flight to Monrovia has provided vital protective supplies for health workers, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who have been infected by Ebola.

Over 240 health care workers have developed Ebola in Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died. Meanwhile, NGOs and other agencies on the front line report a lack of basic supplies including masks and gloves.

Relief charity Direct Relief is one of the international organisations responding, and has sent a charter jet with emergency supplies for health workers combating the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. The shipment, the latest from the charity sent to the region, includes several thousand pounds of gloves, masks, gowns, and other medical resources.

The delivery to Monrovia also included aid from NGOs: AFYA Foundation, Americares, Childfund International, and MedShare. Andrew MacCalla, Director of Emergency Response at Direct Relief also praised the involvement of "Airlink, ATX, and their flight crew" for enabling the mission. The disaster relief org Airlink, links pre-vetted NGOs with airlines. It secured the chartered flight, funded by an anonymous donor.

The deliveries are made as charities report a shortage of essential items, including gloves and masks, that are needed in the fight against the Ebola outbreak. A lack of even basic supplies places health workers at risk and makes their work protecting the public even harder. Humanitarian NGOs, as well as providing medical care often in rapidly assembled health centres, are also training West African health workers to respond to and prevent the Ebola disease.

WHO reports the risks facing health workers is intense, Ebola having taken the lives of “prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia” depriving countries of "experienced and dedicated medical care" as health partners continue to risk their lives battling the disease.

Latest WHO figures estimate 1,427 people have died due to the current Ebola outbreak and that 240 health care workers have been infected, of whom 120 have died.

“In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available – not even gloves and face masks. Even in dedicated Ebola wards, personal protective equipment is often scarce…” the health organisation reveals in its latest update.

This week Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has confirmed that two of its colleagues, a Guinean outreach worker and a Liberian nurse have died. The international charity reports its centres are being overwhelmed as it strives to deal with the numbers of infections.

In its first week, MSF’s latest Ebola management centre in Monrovia is already at capacity with 120 patients. As health workers struggle to contain the health emergency the charity continues to call for a rapid scale up of response from the international community.

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