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5 Ways to Break Ebola Epidemic



The worst-ever outbreak of Ebola has revealed how woefully inadequate health systems are in West Africa, especially in those countries recovering from civil war, the BBC reports.

President Barack Obama said the outbreak was "a threat to global security" which required a "global response".

Health officials have identified five things that would bring the epidemic under control:

1) More treatment centres

All agree this is key as the real number of cases is believed to be much higher than the 4,366 recorded.

Victims in Liberia - the country worst-affected by Ebola - are spreading the virus, some dying on the streets, because there is not enough room at isolation clinics set up to treat infected patients.

President Obama's plan to send 3,000 troops to build 17 healthcare facilities and train health workers has been met with some relief, especially in Liberia where most of this deployment will go.

2) Home care

Until promised treatment centres are set up, this will be the best attempt to stem infections - especially in Liberia.

Under broad medical supervision, affected communities would learn how to provide basic care using rehydration and painkillers.

This will include breaking down the fear of people wearing protective suits. But it is a risky move.

3) Air bridge and medevac system

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the worst-hit states, have been isolated because of flight bans and borders being shut - despite WHO recommendations to the contrary.

It has dealt a blow to their economies and food security will soon become an issue.

President Obama has promised to develop an air bridge to get supplies into affected countries faster.

4) Preparation elsewhere

Don't wait until there is a confirmed case to get ready and make sure what looks good on paper can work on the ground, is the warning to countries in the region.

Medical kits are now being dispatched throughout the region and some countries have started public awareness campaigns.

5) Vaccines

At least two experimental vaccines are looking promising and could be made available in West Africa in November if trials are conclusive.

Injections would be given to medical staff as a priority.

#BBC #Ebola

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