Liberia Opens Ebola Treatment Center
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Liberia's president opened one of the country's largest Ebola treatment centers in the capital, Monrovia, amid hopes that the disease is finally on the decline in the West African country.
American and UN officials as well as Cuban doctors were in the crowd as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf opened the treatment center, which is set up to hold 200 patients and can eventually treat as many as 300.
The opening of the center, built out of white plastic sheeting with USAID written across it, comes as fewer people are showing up for treatment. Some believe it's a sign that the Ebola outbreak is finally on the wane in Liberia.
"It is heartening to see that we are finally perhaps catching up with that boulder if not in front of it. It was rolling down the hill at a speed that we were never going to catch, we thought, two months ago, but we're starting to make progress," said US Ambassador Deborah Malac.
Others believe Sirleaf's order that the bodies of Ebola victims in the capital be cremated has led to people with symptoms hiding at home, because cremation violates traditions.
Doctors Without Borders, known as MSF, said that as of Tuesday there were around 80 patients in its 250-bed facility.
"MSF teams are looking into the reasons for this; a widespread aversion to the government's mandatory cremation policy, poor ambulance and referral systems, changes in behavior, and other factors may play a role," the aid group said.
Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, who heads the government's Ebola response, told the AP news agency the JFK Ebola medical team and a team of Cuban doctors will be in charge of the new center, located in Congo Town in eastern Monrovia.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said this week that the rate of infection in Liberia appears to be falling but warned that the response effort must be kept up or the trend could be reversed.