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Ebola kills more women

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Liberian authorities have announced that 75 percent of the Ebola deaths in the country are women, as the epidemic now mounts 249 cases with 129 deaths in Liberia alone.

The Liberian Government says it is mourning the deaths of health workers struck by Ebola, among them a Ugandan Surgeon Dr. Sam Mutooro Muhumuza, who died after attending to a patient at the government Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, suburb of Monrovia.

Health authorities said the “Ebola virus is now beyond the Health Ministry alone,” as they launch appeal to community people not to be afraid of health workers.

At an investiture ceremony in Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the nation “mourns for all of those who made the utmost sacrifice,” and called on citizens and residents to see Ebola as real. She told Liberians yesterday that “no one is trying to fool them,” while appealing that they report Ebola cases and dead bodies to health workers for their own safety.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Lofa County Representative Mariamu Fofana, told a live- broadcast press briefing hosted by the Health Ministry at the Information Ministry that about 75 percent of Ebola deaths in Liberia are women.

Lofa County where Madam Fofana hails from shares common borders with neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, and the deadly disease was first reported in that county as it spreads to Liberia from both countries. Representative Fofana says women here are engaged in cross border trade between Liberia and Guinea, making them vulnerable to the deadly epidemic.

Finally she says a key challenge to fighting Ebola in Liberia is that young people from parts of Lofa are resisting health volunteers’ preventive messages and doubtful of Ebola’s existence in Liberia.

The World Health Organization or WHO Country Representative to Liberia, Dr. Nestor Ndayimirije, says there are 249 cases with 129 deaths in Liberia, and appealed to religious and traditional people not to keep Ebola patients at prayer or traditional centers to avoid it spreading.

The WHO envoy advised nurses not to touch patients if they are not protected, as he re-emphasized that there is no cure or vaccine for Ebola. But he however advised that there is chance for survival if people seek treatment immediately upon being infected. Dr. Ndayirije said there are cases where people who sought early treatment had survived; though he maintains there is no cure.

Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale, told the public on Thursday that the Ebola virus is now beyond the ministry alone, and needs the support of community residents as well. He said people express fears that health workers will harm them, and in some quarters, they stone health workers’ vehicles.

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