GOL, Partners Open New Centers

By Janjay F. Campbell

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Liberia have opened new Ebola isolation facilities in Monrovia.

These new facilities will be able to host more than 200 confirmed patients at once and will still have space for suspected cases and those who might be tested negative even though they were once tested positive.

Briefing the press on Sunday at a joint press conference, WHO Country Representative, Dr. Nester Ndayimirije, Liberia’s Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah said they had to construct these new isolation centers in order to decongest the present center at ELWA and take in new cases.

Dr. Nester Ndayimirije said at least 50 health workers have volunteered to work at the JFK isolation center which will operate on three shifts. He said it is not enough to keep opening isolation centers; Liberians need to know how to prevent the disease.

For his part,Minister Nyenswah said the government was doing all health good to adequately respond to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, especially after the revamping of the incident management system for Ebola response.

He said they have been struggling in the past weeks with space of where to admit Ebola patients and mentioned that they now have 120-bed capacity for treating Ebola patients at ELWA-3.

The Assistant Minister for Preventive Services stressed that ELWA-2 in the same compound of the ELWA Hospital, now hosts 77 patients and also disclosed that ELWA-3 which has the capacity of 120 beds at the moment, will be expanded to 300 beds in the coming weeks.

One of the isolated centers at John F. Kennedy (JFK) medical center in Sinkor has 35 beds and can be stretched to at most 45 beds. Dr. Atai Omoruoto, who is a Ugandan medical practitioner, has been hired by WHO to help with the situation in Liberia by running the refurbished and extended Ebola center at JFK along with a team of Ugandan medical practitioners including two doctors and seven nurses.

According to Dr. Omoruoto, the present trend of the disease, the Ebola virus might still be around up to December. At the same time, at least 20 persons died Thursday night at ELWA-2 isolation center. It has long been said by Medicins San Frontier (MSF) and other international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Ebola virus is still claiming lives.