There are 80 to 100 new cases of Ebola reported every day in Sierra Leone and the country now hardest-hit by the deadly virus desperately needs over 1,000 beds to treat victims.
Sierra Leone’s Finance Minister Kaifalah Marah painted a grim picture to the U.N. Economic and Social Council Friday of the challenges facing his nation which failed to meet a World Health Organization interim goal of isolating 70 percent of Ebola patients and safely burying 70 percent of victims by Dec. 1.
The two other hard-hit countries, Liberia and Guinea, did meet the deadline, and the number of new cases in Liberia has dropped from 60 per day in September to 10 per day now but much greater effort is needed to reach the elusive goal of zero new cases.
According to Margaret Chan, the Ebola outbreak is the largest, longest, most severe and most complex Ebola epidemic in the nearly 40-year history of this disease and what began as a health crisis has become a crisis with humanitarian, social, economic and security implications. Also,the fear for Ebola is moving faster than the virus.
There were 6,201 confirmed Ebola cases in Sierra Leone and 1,900 deaths, and the virus is now concentrated in some northern districts and the western area including the capital, Freetown.
Sierra Leone has four functioning treatment centers but it needs 12, and while the number of beds for Ebola sufferers has increased from 212 to 406, it needs 1,500 which means 1,094 additional beds.