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Ellen meets with health workers in Nimba

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has told health workers in Ganta, Nimba County of a “big boost” to government’s fight against the Ebola virus, as partners pull in support, constructing facilities to augment Liberia’s response against the disease.

But so far, our partners have now come in and they are going to give us a big boost in terms of the facilities- by constructing ETUs and holding centers, and also by giving us more materials, more equipment and vehicles, because that’s all part of the problems,” she said in Ganta.

President Sirleaf spoke Tuesday, October 7, when she visited and gave supplies and envelopes to health workers at several health facilities in Nimba County, including the Kpein clinic in Saclepea Mah District, Ganta United Methodist Hospital, G.W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquelle and the ArcelorMittal Health facility in Yekepa, respectively.

She was briefed by Nimba County Health Officer, Collins Bowah, of 18 Ebola survivors so far, and that there is now a downward spread of Ebola in the county, unlike the past where he said for instance, Ganta City was an Ebola epic center. Having acknowledged partners’ assistance, President Sirleaf said she feels more comfortable of Liberia’s response capacity to being able to deal with the disease.

“But we can’t do without you. We can bring all the vehicles; we can bring all the medicines; we can bring all the buckets and all of that, but unless our health workers feel more comfortable, unless they continue to serve, then it makes our jobs difficult,” she said.

As she appealed to health workers to continue with their services, President Sirleaf said government has concluded processing their hazard pay, covering both public and private sectors, to be received shortly, amidst hands of applause.

The Liberian leader said, We all understand this disease right now,” unlike the initial response provided at the onset of the outbreak “we all didn’t know what to do,” making the fight much more difficult at the time.

Speaking earlier, County Health Officer, Collins Bowah, appealed to President Sirleaf to champion the cause to have partners take over the complete running of the G.W. Harley health facility in Nimba to reduce the cases there.

He feared that within the next two to three months from now, they will need over 70 to 75 staffs at the hospital, pointing to the issue of salaries, food for patients and other running costs as concerns that they may not afford.

CHO Bowah said since 18 July when the outbreak started in Nimba with initial two confirmed cases emerging from Ganta, the county’s total cumulative Ebola cases as of Tuesday, October 7 were around 249, with 79 confirmed cases so far.

He reported 34 suspected, and 136 probable cases, while around 154 samples have been taken to Monrovia for testing. At least five out nine infected health workers have died, with the cumulative Ebola deaths put at 137 in the entire Nimba, he said. “But of that number, 15 were suspected deaths, confirmed deaths, 49; probable deaths, 73; we have 18 survivals so far in Nimba.”

On the other hand, Mr. Bowah pleaded for more ambulances to cover the county’s six health districts, briefing Presiden t Sirleaf that Nimba presently has two ambulances.He expressed confidence that Ebola will go away, saying patients are now reporting themselves to ETUs, and health workers are joining the fight against Ebola in Treatment Units in the county.

Meanwhile, two vehicles were donated by the Jonah Capital and Cavalla Resources for Nimba Community health services during President Sirleaf’s visit to the G.W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie.

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