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Faced with Ebola, West Africa Health System Has ‘Collapsed’

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 16:25:17 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- Demonstrators in West Africa protested the government's delays in collecting bodies of Ebola virus victims, blocking Liberia's busiest highway Saturday.

Health officials in neighboring Guinea closed land borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone to keep Ebola from spreading, but experts say hospitals in the region are not properly equipped to deal with the outbreak.

"The health system has completely collapsed," said Dr. Frank Glover, missionary and president of health organization SHIELD in Africa. "And by that I mean, they don't have capacity to even see patients. Every day they are seeing patients, mothers present with dead babies in their womb because there's no one to do a C-section."

Glover stressed the importance of giving protective gear to workers on the ground, due to the large death toll of nurses and doctors trying to treat Ebola.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international emergency. On ABC's This Week, Robin Sanders, former U.S. Ambassador to Congo and Nigeria, said a quarantine and close quarters often make the situation worse.

"People are quarantined, they were not told in advance and therefore there are food shortages in those same areas," Sanders said. "How the virus sometimes gets into the population is that people are food insecure, so they eat bush meat, rodents that are infected with the virus."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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