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President Obama Posturing on Ebola Exposed

Printable version / Version imprimable

Douglas De Groot

(EIRNS)—Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors without Border (MSN), upstaged Obama’s claim that the United States had made a great effort in the fight against the out-of-control Ebola epidemic in Africa. In his Sept. 25 speech at the UN, Obama said that the rest of the international community should step in to help out, and not just rely on the U.S. contribution.

Very late in the crisis, after much stalling since the disease was identified in February, and after the epidemic had already gotten out of control, the Obama administration, on Sept.16, finally announced an intervention, using the military to fly in emergency health care facilities and provide training for health care workers. That is, the United States was not providing any of the much-needed health care workers.

Liu pointed out that the promised contribution had not yet arrived:

"Generous pledges of aid and unprecedented UN resolutions are very welcome. But they will mean little, unless they are translated into immediate action.

"The reality on the ground today is this: the promised surge has not yet delivered.

Because of the rapidly increasing infection rate, she said, in the time gap between promise of assistance and the actual delivery, "thousands of people will die." She added, "I can’t say the exact figure, because we don’t know how many unreported cases there are. But thousands for sure."

MSN is the main provider of health care services in the three stricken countries, at this point. It now has 239 international volunteers, and has enough volunteers lined up for the next six-month rotation. It alone runs six facilities, totalling 532 beds in the three countries, and only has plans for 35 more beds.

She noted that the MSN 150-bed facility in Monrovia opens every morning, to admit a few people to fill beds made available by those who died overnight. Those not admitted return home, spreading the virus to their families and neighbors. "The isolation centers you have promised must be established NOW." She added, "Don’t cut corners. Massive, direct action is the only way."

She also stated that the "current models of vaccine development will not work," and that incentives were needed for trials and production of vaccine, which must be accessible and quickly delivered to those most in need, as soon as they are available.

According to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), the current total number of beds for Ebola patients in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone is approximately 820, whereas at least 3,000, by very conservative estimate, are needed. An additional 737 beds have now been pledged, but even after those are built, 2,000 or more of the beds, minimally, will still be needed. Since the number of people being infected is growing geometrically, the actual number of beds needed will actually be far greater.