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US troops not testing Ebola patients -Health Ministry clarifies

The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaThe Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has clarified that US troops who arrived in the country on Friday are not involved in testing Ebola patients at various health centers as being rumored here.

The ministry has also dismissed reports of people begging to have suspected Ebola patients tested at the ELWA Hospital, terming the rumor as baseless.

Speaking on Monday, September 22nd  during a regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, the Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services, Tolbert Nyeswah, said the 3,000 US military personnel, who arrived in Liberia over the weekend are not here to test people with the Ebola virus disease.

He said the coming of the US military has nothing to do with testing or touching patients with the deadly Ebola virus, adding that they are here to render assistance and help maximum security for health care workers at various health centers.

Minister Nyenswah said the Americans are also in Liberia to train soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia in combating the deadly Ebola virus.

The US intervention includes establishing a regional intermediate staging base (ISB) to facilitate and expedite the transportation of equipment, supplies and personnel. Of the U.S. forces taking part in this response, many will be stationed at the ISB.

Command engineers will build additional Ebola Treatment Units in affected areas, and the U.S. Government will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them. The military will establish a site to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling healthcare workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients.

The US will deploy 65 experts from its public health Corps to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced Department of Defense (DoD) hospital to care for healthcare workers who become ill. The deployment roster will consist of administrators, clinicians, and support staff.

The US will also supply Ebola prevention kits targeting 400,000 most vulnerable households in Liberia. The package will subsequently be scaled to cover the country and the broader region. As part of the effort, this week, USAID is expected to airlift 50,000 home health care kits from Denmark to Liberia to be hand-delivered to distant communities by trained youth volunteers.

Mr. Nyenswah said the government, including the entire country is faced with a serious challenge and no one should say things that will promote the spread of the virus, saying that the government’s focus right now is building more treatment units in order to stop the rapid spread of the virus.

“This government is putting measures in place that will eradicate this virus from Liberia. Three counties are leading with the highest number of cases, including Montserrado, Lofa, and Margibi counties with males carrying 70% of the death rate, while females have 30%.”

Nyenswah explained that the disease is less prevalent among children under 5 years, while it is high among the ages of 25- 45 with health care workers being more affected than physician assistants.

He disclosed that the newly constructed 150 bed facility at Island Clinic on Bushrod Island over the weekend admitted 112 patients, 56 of them transferred from the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town.

According to him, out of the 112 patients, 56 tested positive with the Ebola virus, while 49 tested negative, pointing out that all those who tested negative will have to go for second testing to prove that they are completely negative and free from the virus before discharging them.

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