488 Health Workers Die In Ebola Fight

The ECOWAS minister in a group photograph after the first session of the meeting.

The number of health workers who have lost their lives in the discharge of their duties in the Ebola disease outbreak have reached a total of 488 so far.

This number of deaths was recorded from the three affected countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the West African Region out of 820 cases recorded. Guinea recorded 154 cases of healthcare providers getting infected with the disease out of which 89 lost their lives.

Liberia had 370 health workers infected with Ebola with 178 dying as a result.

In Sierra Leone, 296 healthcare workers have been recorded to be infected with Ebola out of which 221 have lost their lives, the highest number of health workers to have lost their lives in a mission to save lives.

These figures were released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Dr Georges A. Ki-Zerbo, in a high level technical coordination meeting by the health ministers between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and development partners.

The two day meeting, to be followed by a high level coordination meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State on the fight against Ebola, was to access the progress of the Ebola interventions being carried out in the three affected countries.

Dr Ki-zerbo said there is some progress in the provision of equipment in treating patients with confirmed cases of Ebola. However, he noted that the distribution needs to be done in a manner to make it more flexible for people to get access to the equipment when they need them.

He also disclosed that the WHO will need teams made up of consultants, staff of WHO and United Nations Mission on Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) to go to unaffected countries and help in the preparedness efforts.

‘They will conduct research and provide a check list on dealing with the disease among others to help improve the preparedness of these countries that have not recorded any Ebola case,’ he said.

The Minister of Health for Ghana, Dr Kwaku Agyemang Mensah, who doubled as the chairperson for the meeting, said although some progress were being made in the Ebola fight, unaffected countries were still at high risk of getting the disease, adding that Ebola is still a threat to global peace and security.

‘I therefore wish to entreat all nations to provide maximum support to the affected countries and ensure that the epidemic is controlled at source

This is the surest way our sub-region and the entire world would be assured of safety and security from the menace of Ebola,’ he said.

Since the WHO was notified of the outbreak, a total of 21,086 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the disease have been reported in six different countries, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States of America, and two previously affected countries, Nigeria and Senegal.

So far, 8,289 deaths have been reported with the death rate across the three most affected countries in all reported cases being 71 percent and 58 percent in hospitalised patients.

BY Jamila Akweley Okertchiri 

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