Five New Ebola cases every hour - Save The Children

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 2, 2014

International non-governmental organization, Save the Children, has warned that healthcare demands for Ebola patients are far outstripping supply.

It said an estimated 765* new cases were reported last week in Sierra Leone — a rate of five every hour - while there are only 327 beds in the country.

“The critical shortage comes as untold numbers of children are dying anonymously at home or in the streets, meaning the scale of the problem is massively unreported,” the NGO warned.

“Even as health authorities get on top of the outbreak in one area, it breaks out in another. In the Port Loko district, cases have risen five-fold in the last month**.”

This comes when international leaders will gather today in London for a conference to raise awareness about the killer virus Ebola.

According to Save the Children, even with the 700 new beds pledged by the UK government, unless the international community radically steps up its response, people will continue to die at home, infecting their families and wider community.

"We are facing the frightening prospect of an epidemic which is spreading like wildfire across Sierra Leone, with the number of new cases doubling every three weeks. Children, more than anyone, are suffering painful, anonymous and undignified deaths at home.

“It's very difficult at this stage to even give accurate figures on the number of children who are dying from Ebola, as monitoring systems cannot keep pace with the outbreak," said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children's country director in Sierra Leone.

Save the Children is working with the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) and its Ministry of Defence to build and run a 100-bed treatment center in Sierra Leone, as well as supporting an Interim Care Center in Kailahun for children who have lost their families to Ebola.

It is also working to address the Ebola epidemic in Guinea and Liberia.

* Based on Sierra Leone Ministry of Health figures which show 306 new cases were reported in the week to Wednesday 1st October. This is then multiplied by 2.5 to take into account underreporting, according to CDC guidelines.
** According to Ministry of Health figures from August 30th and September 30th.