Monrovia - The deadly Ebola virus continues to claim more lives in Liberia as health centers become completely overwhelmed to continue receiving new patients daily. On Friday, September 12, 2014, a high powered delegation led by Dr. David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola and DrKeiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General, Health Security and Liberian health officials took a tour of the facility.
The World Health Organization in collaboration with the Liberian government is working to complete the 120-bed facility at the former Island Clinic located on the Bushrod Island in Monrovia to meet the demand for more hospital beds for Ebola patients.
Friday construction works were ongoing as contractors were seen busy putting together what will be the second Ebola Treatment largest facility after the medical humanitarian group, Medecin San Frontier, MSF. Workers at the hospital told FrontPageAfrica that they are already seeing an influx of sick people from the disease and that they have to turn them away because the center was not ready.
“People are coming here every day, thinking the center is ready because of the information that is out there,” said Stephen Chea, Deputy Chief of Security at the hospital now renamed the Oniyama Specialist Hospital. “There are a lot of things that we’ve been doing here. It is just that the government wants to use this place so urgently, but the work that needs to be done here could take another 30 days.”
Men at work said they had been given an ultimatum to finish the center in two days and that they (worker) were under a lot of pressure to deliver. During a tour of the facility, Dr. Fukuda seemed impressed by the level of work that was ongoing and said he hopes the facility will help meet the needs of Ebola patients and break the chain of transmission of the deadly disease.
“This example here, we have had contractors working overnight for ten days, to really achieve a miracle in putting together a wonderful facility,” he said. “It really shows you that the international community, both within Africa and outside have been working with the countries in order to turn around this fight and as Dr. Nabarro said, it is still a difficult fight, but this is really how it is going to turn around.”
The opening of treatment centers across the country is urgently needed as available Ebola treatment facilities around the country are turning patients away because they have run out of beds. Suspected Ebola patients who turned themselves into various treatment centers last week were seen lying around in front of the gates, many of them too weak to walk.
But the government said late last week that it is working around the clock to provide the needed resources to open treatment centers where patients could go to receive treatment. The government said it has expended close to five million United States Dollars to fight the deadly Ebola Virus.
GoL Funding to health sector
The government said to date, it has mobilized a total of US$5.7 million dollars consisting of US$5.6 million and LD$9.4 million paid into the Ebola Trust Fund at the Central Bank of Liberia as donations from the government, private individuals and organizations for the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.
Speaking Thursday at a news conference, Finance minister Amara Konneh said after one month of implementation, the government through the finance ministry has disbursed approximately US$4.7 Million to the various implementing agencies, leaving an undisbursed balance of approximately US$1.1 million.
“The Ministry of Health has received US$2.8 million, constituting 61.7% of the initial funding, as part of the government’s initial support to the health sector in dealing with the crisis,” he said. “Of this amount, US$1. 4 million disbursed for the payment of per diems for deploying health workers; US$600,000 to procure 12 ambulances.”
Konneh said the government disbursed US$300,000.00 as an advance on the construction of various treatment facilities across the country, including ElWA II Liberian-run Ebola Treatment Unit, Foya Treat Unit, and Gbarnga Treatment Unit; bringing the Island Clinic online and the Congo Town Ebola Treatment Unit online. He said as part of the government’s effort to fight Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), it has prioritized key activities within the Health and Security Sectors through the National Budget for Fiscal Year 2014/2015.
“We have to date disbursed US$6.2 million over the period July to August to the Health Sector, targeting the Ministry of Health, John F. Kennedy Hospital, Jackson F. Doe Hospital, Phebe Hospital, Tellewoyan Hospital, C.H. Renney Hospital and other county health centers and systems across the country through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,” he said.
“Separately, we have disbursed through the budget a total of US$1,276,339.00 to the Security Sector for their regular operations based on the one-twelfth provision of the PFM Law in the absence of an approved budget.”
Konneh said the government has disbursed a total of US$556,150.00 to counties to assist county health teams in their effort to fight Ebola: Montserrado US$276,500; Gbarpolu US$127,650; Margibi US$77,000; Bong County US$50,000 and Grand Gedeh US$25,000. WHO, has predicted an increase in the number of Ebola virus infections in Liberia in September. About 60 percent of Liberia's cases and deaths occurred within the last three weeks, WHO data shows.
Liberia’s Infrastructure was devastated by a 14-year civil war, which killed about 250,000 in the conflict that ended in 2003. The country is estimated to have one doctor to treat nearly 100,000 people before Ebola outbreak, which began in March this year. There have been 2,046 cases since the outbreak with 1,224. In a country of 4.4 Million people it is not good news at all.