MONROVIA, Liberia — While the terrifying spread of Ebola has captured the world’s attention, it also has produced a lesser-known crisis: the near-collapse of the already fragile health-care system here, a development that may be as dangerous — for now — as the virus for the average Liberian.
By Friday morning, we knew more. These details, the stuff of horror films. A local government group of relief workers—a mix of doctors, religious leaders, and journalists—had arrived Monday to educate the remote southeastern village of Womey about Ebola. Just 24 hours after their arrival, violence broke out, allegedly sparked by the false belief that a disinfectant being sprayed was actually the disease itself. An angry mob brandishing machetes, stones, and knives lashed out.
The Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa could infect up to 500,000 people by the end of January, according to a new estimate under development by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report is scheduled to be released next week, but work on it is still ongoing and projections could change, said a person who is familiar with its contents but was not authorized to speak because the report is not yet public.
By Lena H. Sun & Juliet Eilperin - Sep 7 - The Washington Post
President Obama said Sunday that the U.S. military will begin aiding what has been a chaotic and ineffective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.
The move significantly ramps up the U.S. response and comes as the already strained military is likely to be called upon further to address militant threats in the Middle East. The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.
Sierra Leone will impose a three-day lockdown on all its citizens, as part of a plan to "deal with Ebola once and for all," the government says. The move is an effort to stop the disease that has killed over 2,000 people in five West African countries, according to World Health Organization data.
But the lockdown's effectiveness will depend on citizens buying in to the government's plan. From Nairobi, NPR's Gregory Warner reports:
"From Sept. 19 to 21, the people of Sierra Leone will have to remain in their homes so health workers can isolate new Ebola cases and prevent the disease from spreading. But the lockdown will have to be mostly voluntary. Sierra Leone does not have the police or military capacity to enforce it on 6 million citizens.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — One of the most stringent anti-Ebola measures to date began here Friday morning as Sierra Leone imposed a three-day national lockdown, ordering people off the streets and into their homes in an effort to stamp out the deadly disease.
Police officers patrolled the streets of the densely populated capital, telling stragglers to go home and stay indoors. Volunteers in bright jerseys prepared to go house-to-house throughout the country to warn people about Ebola’s dangers and to root out those who might be infected but were staying in hiding.
The normally busy streets of Freetown were empty Friday morning, stores were closed and pedestrians were rare on the main thoroughfares.
The country’s president, justifying the extraordinary move in a radio address Thursday night, suggested that Sierra Leone was engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the disease.