October 2014 – AFRICA – At 3:30 a.m. in the world’s biggest Ebola treatment center, Daniel Lucey found the outbreak reduced to its essentials: patients lying on mattresses on the floor and vomiting in the dark, visible only by the wavering flashlight beam of a single volunteer doctor. “I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Lucey, a physician and professor from Georgetown University who is halfway through a five-week tour in Liberia with Medecins Sans Frontieres, the medical charity known in English as Doctors Without Borders. “The epidemic is still getting worse,” he said by phone between shifts. That’s an increasingly urgent challenge for MSF and the global health community. As fear spreads in the U.S. over transmission of the virus to two nurses in a modern Dallas hospital, the main fight against the outbreak is still being waged by volunteers like Lucey half a world away.
MSF has been the first — and often only — line of defense against Ebola in West Africa. The group raised the alarm on March 31, months ahead of the World Health Organization. Now, after treating almost a third of the roughly 9,000 confirmed Ebola cases in Africa — and faced with a WHO warning of perhaps 10,000 new infections a week by December — MSF is reaching its limits. “They are at the breaking point,” said Vinh-Kim Nguyen, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal who has volunteered for a West African tour with MSF in a few weeks. MSF has already seen 21 workers infected and 12 people die, and “there’s a sense that there’s a major wave of infections that’s about to wash everything away,” Nguyen said. –Bloomberg
South Korean aid workers exposed to Ebola: South Korean aid workers in West Africa have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus due to a lack of protective wear and medical equipment, a lawmaker claimed Tuesday. A total of 102 South Korean aid workers have been living in West African countries, including Senegal and Cameroon, without proper protection from the epidemic, Rep. Kim Jae-won of the ruling Saenuri Party said, citing data from the government’s official development assistance body, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). –Yonhap News