Date
17 October 2017
MSF press officer in Hong Kong Li Pik-kwan (insert) says her group has sent over 100 doctors and healthcare workers to five West African countries hit by the deadly Ebola virus. Photos: AFP, Now TV
MSF press officer in Hong Kong Li Pik-kwan (insert) says her group has sent over 100 doctors and healthcare workers to five West African countries hit by the deadly Ebola virus. Photos: AFP, Now TV

Ebola-hit African countries not getting enough help, MSF says

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, said impoverished African countries hit by the deadly Ebola virus were not getting adequate help from the international community until after “white people” contracted the disease, Ming Pao Daily reported on Friday, citing the group’s press officer in Hong Kong Li Pik-kwan.

While the African countries are struggling in fighting the disease, millions of protective suits and experiment drugs were ready in Western countries, Li said.

The MSF has sent over 100 doctors and healthcare workers to five West African countries affected by the outbreak. Li stayed in Sierra Leone for 13 days from Aug. 6 to assist in liaison work and media briefings.

With local hospitals running out of beds for the victims, MSF workers had to fell over 150 trees and erect tents to form a temporary treatment center with 80 beds in the country.

The center received over 200 confirmed cases of Ebola, Li said. It would take at least four hours to take a patient to the treatment center via a local ambulance, while 90 percent of the people the patients had been in contact with could not be traced, making it more difficult to stop the spread of the disease.

On the other hand, US patients were allowed to try a new drug called ZMapp, and Japan has also reported progress in formulating new treatments. No trial drugs or vaccines were available in Sierra Leone.

The death rate for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone remained high at 60 percent, while that in other countries could go even higher, the report said.

The World Health Organization warned that the Ebola caseload in West Africa could eventually reach 20,000. So far, a total of 3,062 cases have been confirmed in the region, of which 1,552 or 50 percent have died.

Meanwhile, the US National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline are understood to be stepping up work on a new Ebola vaccine, which could undergo clinical tests on volunteers in Britain, Gambia and Mali as soon as September, the report said.

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EL/AC/CG

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