Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation

8/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

More qualified personnel needed to deal with broadening crisis, experts say

Hospitals battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa desperately need more staff, as local doctors leave their posts and foreign doctors are reluctant to come forward, medical experts said during an online debate on the disease.

More money and resources are desperately needed to improve local health systems.

More money and resources are desperately needed to improve local health systems.


By Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Catholic Online (

8/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, medical help, doctors, crisis

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Medical staff are among the most vulnerable to infection, and several have already died of the virus. Locals have no previous experience of Ebola, how to protect themselves or contain the disease.

"The fear factor is high, but people need to understand that Ebola can be controlled, be it within a clinic or within a country," said Francis Kasolo, coordinator of the World Health Organization's Sub-regional Ebola Outbreak Coordination Centre in Conakry, Guinea. He was one of five panelists at the debate organized by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

The crisis is symptomatic of the state of local health systems, the panelists said. The three most seriously affected countries - Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia - have very few local doctors and nurses. Sierra Leone, for example, has only a few hundred local medical staff to serve a population of nearly 6 million, according to WHO figures.

Ambulances are also in short supply. Just four serve a population of about 470,000 in Kailahun district in eastern Sierra Leone, according to Anja Wolz, emergency coordinator for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), who was recently in Sierra Leone.

There are not enough protective suits made to the right specification, and hospitals even lack gloves, the experts said.

Aid agencies and local authorities do not have enough resources to collect dead bodies safely. The panelists said they had heard reports of people in Liberia waiting 30 hours or more for someone to collect their dead.

Although some medical staff are fleeing their posts, many are staying despite the dangers.

"The heroic local doctors and nurses must be acknowledged and we need to find ways to remunerate them for their dangerous work," said Johan Von Schreeb, professor of international disaster medicine at the Karolinska Institut in Sweden.


In an attempt to contain the virus, Liberia imposed a quarantine in West Point, a large slum in the capital Monrovia, on August 19. Security forces have been deployed to stop people from entering or leaving the area.

Although quarantines are an effective way of stopping transmission in principle, in practice they are very difficult to maintain and have a major impact on those forced into isolation, said Korto Williams, country director for ActionAid Liberia.

"To do this and not have an effective plan for contact tracing, will not help to end the crisis," Williams said, referring to the need to trace all the people that Ebola patients have come into contact with.

A worker walks past newly erected quarantine tents at the expanded ELWA Ebola Treatment Centre on th

A worker walks past newly erected quarantine tents at the expanded ELWA Ebola Treatment Centre on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, in this UNICEF handout photo.

"Quarantine should not mean the creation of plague villages," he added. "Ebola affected communities must not be abandoned. There should be no 'no go' areas for health workers."

He added that trade and communications should be allowed to continue in areas under quarantine, to avoid further impoverishing those whose communities and livelihoods are already at risk.


The outbreak will take many months to stabilize, Kasolo said.

In the meantime, local medical staff are gaining experience in how to treat and contain the epidemic, which will hopefully stand them in good stead in the future, some of the panelists said.

But more money and resources are desperately needed to improve local health systems.

Kasolo said that several donors are interested in building the health systems in West Africa.

"This is the marathon that will follow this run," he added.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Africa

Prayer works! Boko Haram releases 21 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls Watch

Image of Twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls were released from Boko Haram.


Over 200 Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Nigerian terror group Boko Haram. Now, two years later, some have been returned. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With help from negotiations brokered by the Red Cross and Swiss government, Boko Haram has agreed to ... continue reading

Jesuit priest takes bullets to face in violent protest Watch

Image of The Jesuit priest was shot at close range in the face (TimesLive/YouTube).


Violence broke out between authorities and protesting students when the South African government proposed an 8 percent increase of already barely affordable tuition. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For over two decades, South Africa has been struggling to stop the ... continue reading

Did you know the ROSARY is defeating Boko Haram! Watch

Image of The Rosary is our greatest weapon against all terror. Let us pray!

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

What is the most powerful weapon deployed against Boko Haram? Is it a smart bomb or a stealth drone? No. It turns out, the most feared weapon against Boko haram is the Rosary. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Among all the weapons deployed by mankind, one of the ... continue reading

Boko Haram Islamist Jihadists Kill Eight more Christians in their War Against Christianity in Nigeria Watch

Image of Boko Haram soldiers hovering over innocents whom they slaughterd in the name of their

By Deacon Keith Fournier

These Islamic terrorists claim that when they die during their evil acts, they are martyrs. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are simply dead terrorists. They have either taken their own lives - an intrinsically evil act - or died in the commission ... continue reading

Don't forget about the people of Nigeria! Boko Haram continues to kill Christians Watch

Image of Boko Haram is the enemy of all civilization.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With all the attention focused on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, it can be easy to forget that our Catholic and other Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria also face deadly Islamic extremism on a daily basis. Militant Islam is on the march around the globe ... continue reading

Egyptian Prostitutes lure migrants into selling their organs Watch

Image of Illegal migrants are coerced to sell their organs in exchange for money or sex.


Financially desperate undocumented African migrants in Cairo have turned to selling their organs to pimps and Egypt's underground organ trade. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - <a ... continue reading

'We do not understand why this is happening to us': Christians tied up in Congo ... you won't believe what happens next! Watch

Image of At least 36 Christians have been brutally slaughtered in the Congo (Reuters).


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has seen a dramatic rise in Christian persecution, leaving at least 36 Christians hacked to death. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic Herald, the North Kivu region of the DRC experienced its deadliest ... continue reading

A nation of murderers: Church is powerless to stop drug killings in Philippines Watch

Image of Drug dealers are now targets of civilians and the police under President Duarte.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Vigilantes in the Philippines are tearing the country apart by killing suspected drug dealers at whim. The Church has spoken out against these killings, which show no signs of stopping. The killings are a response to that country's president calling for mass ... continue reading

Sterile husband attacks wife with machete as punishment for not conceiving Watch

Image of Her husband was frustrated when she did not become pregnant so he chopped off her hands with a machete.


Jackline Mwende and her husband Stephen Ngila were married seven years but were unable to conceive, leading Stephen to lash out by attacking his wife with a machete. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Nation, Jackline met and married Stephen within ... continue reading

'I thank God in everything I do': Teen living in plastic bowl refuses to give up hope Watch

Image of Teen lives in bucket (Sani Maikatanga/Barcroft Image).


Rahma Haruna is a 19-year-old girl who has lived the majority of her life in a plastic bowl. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, the teen was born with an unknown condition, leaving her without limbs, constant pain and the body of a 6-month-old ... continue reading

All Africa News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:32--5:8
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:10-17
10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2016 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was ... Read More