Cuba to send doctors to fight Ebola outbreak as death toll rises




Roberto Morales Ojeda, Cuba’s minister of public health, told reporters in Geneva that 62 doctors and 103 nurses will enter Sierra Leone later this year.

“The Cuban government, as it always has done in its 55 years of revolution, has decided to participate in this global effort and coordination with the World Health Organization to face this dramatic situation in West Africa,” he said.

Ojeda was joined by Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO. As in past weeks, Chan described the threadbare resources available to doctors in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and called for additional aid from the international community.

“Our response is running short on nearly everything, from personal protective equipment to body bags, to mobile laboratories, to isolation wards,” she said. “But the thing we need most of all is people, health care workers. The right people. The right specialists.”

In Liberia, Chan said, health officials do not have a single available bed to treat patients. Officials opened a new facility capable of treating 30 people earlier this week, but the building saw nearly 70 patients the day it opened, she said.

The deadly outbreak has spread to five West African nations, and health officials have diagnosed 2,096 cases in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in just the last 21 days, according to updated data released Friday.

Nearly 1,200 of those cases were reported in Liberia.

In all, health officials have identified 4,366 patients stricken with the disease in those three countries, plus Senegal and Nigeria. More than 2,200 of those patients have died.

A separate outbreak was reported in Congo. The virus has spread to four villages there, claiming 31 lives.

© 2014 Tribune Content Agency News Service

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