Ebola Deaths Swell To 90…As UNICEF Gives Update On Epidemic

By Morrison O.G. Sayon

The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has reported the death of at least 90 persons from the deadly Ebola disease. UNICEF in its latest report puts the total confirmed death toll at 90.

According to UNICEF, as of 29 June, two new confirmed Ebola cases were reported. With these changes according to UNICEF, the total number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases reported for Outbreak #2 now stands at ninety (90).

The report said a total of forty-three confirmed cases, including twenty-six from Lofa County, one from Margibi County, and sixteen from Montserrado County are recorded, while a total of nine cases among healthcare workers are reported including five deaths.

The total number of Ebola-related deaths for Outbreak #2 in confirmed, probable, and suspected cases now stands at forty-nine with twenty-seven in Lofa County, two in Margibi County, and twenty in Montserrado County.

UNICEF in its report further recorded twenty-six deaths among confirmed cases. The national case fatality rate (CFR) in confirmed and probable cases is reported as 59%.

The reported CFR for Montserrado and Margibi Counties according to UNICEF is higher at 66.7% than the 52.9% reported for Lofa County, with a total number of patients currently in isolation, twenty-five including nineteen in Lofa and in Montserrado. Eight specimens await lab testing.

The reports detailed the renewed outbreak in Foya, Lofa, and New Kru Town, Montserrado Counties, as the epicentres of the Ebola outbreak, with a recorded number of 441 persons identified contacts, while 419 out of the 441 are currently under follow-up.

In latest reports from the sub-committees speak of serious emphasis to improve contact tracing, designate a site for Ebola burials in Montserrado County, increase awareness, and ensure adherence to proper infection control measures in all health facilities.

Through its Communications and Child Survival Sections, UNICEF continues to provide critical C4D, health and WASH sector support to the national Ebola response in coordination with National Task Force sub-committees.

The Health and WASH Units of the Child Survival Section provided 10 drums (45 kg each) of Chlorine; 100 cartons of soap; 500 digital thermometers; 100 insecticide treated nets, 50 pairs of rain suits, boots, gloves, nose masks, and rubber hats; and 30 pieces of overalls.

The Communication Section said it continues to actively support the social mobilization sub-committee. Over the weekend according to the communication section, the committee worked closely with Red Cross to engage local leaders in Lofa and Montserrado Counties, and is facilitating a visit from SKY News Team from South Africa to document the Ebola outbreak.

The SKY News Team is being supported by UNICEF members of UNICEF IPC team based in Foya, Lofa County. One of the Ebola Prevention Songs produced with the support of UNICEF is also now aired on radio stations.

On the issue of funding, UNICEF’s current estimated funding requirement for Ebola-related C4D, Health and WASH interventions remains approximately US$1.59 million.