A shortage of volunteers to staff the new Ebola clinics and hospitals the international community is building in West Africa threatens efforts to bring the deadly virus rapidly under control, aid agencies have warned.
“The missing link is staff,” Athalia Christie, deputy for global health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has just returned from Liberia, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The United States this week announced it will send in its military to build 17 Ebola treatment centers in Liberia. Army engineers from Britain are building a 200-bed hospital in Sierra Leone, while the United Nations has formed a special mission to lead efforts.
This marks a dramatic scaling up of the global response to the Ebola crisis, which has claimed over 2,500 lives this year – mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea where infections are spiraling out of control as healthcare systems collapse.
When world leaders meet for the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, their sessions will include a two-day summit on the Ebola crisis.
Many questions remain over how to handle the deadly virus. Medical experts have yet to agree on a basic method of treatment, which shapes the types of aid that will be delivered. More money is needed, as well as more people to work in the region and more training.
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