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Medical quarantine in Liberia causes children to die from non-Ebola health conditions


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(NaturalNews) The worsening, widening spread of the Ebola virus throughout West Africa is creating another, lesser known medical crisis: the utter collapse of healthcare systems in the hardest-hit countries, largely because the systems in place were not that great to be begin with. And worse, the countries struggling the most to contain the virus are among Africa's poorest.

The Washington Post reported recently that the collapse of healthcare systems could wind up being every bit as dangerous, at least in the short term, as the spread of the virus itself, especially in Liberia, the hardest-hit of the West African countries most affected. The Post added:

Western experts said that people here are dying of preventable or treatable conditions such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes, such as strokes.

Where there still are medical services, Ebola has nearly crippled all efforts to provide them, largely because of fear among healthcare workers of contracting the nearly-always-fatal virus. Health workers are turning away people who are sick and women who are in labor if they are unsure of whether the patient is infected.

Furthermore, the Post reported, some people are not seeking care for other ailments because they are afraid that they, too, will contract Ebola.

'We begged them to take her but they refused'

"If you stub your toe now in Monrovia, you'll have a hard time getting care, let alone [if you're] having a heart attack or malaria," Sheldon Yett, the Liberia representative for UNICEF, told the Post. "It's a tremendous threat to children and a tremendous threat to families."

The Post reported that it was difficult to find reliable data on non-Ebola-related health services. However, the report said, a number of representatives from several Western non-profit organizations have confirmed in recent days that a small measles outbreak in a town in Lofa County -- located about 270 miles from the capital of Monrovia, where the Ebola epidemic first struck -- that authorities claim occurred because vaccinations are no longer being given. Measles, experts note, is very contagious and can be fatal if untreated.

According to WHO statistics, the current pandemic has killed more than 2,900 people, with half of those deaths occurring in Liberia. And personal tragedies are mounting; The Independent, a British newspaper, recently did a follow-up on a report from May about a 17-year-old woman who has lost her baby because healthcare workers could not treat her:

Princess's child Angie did not die of Ebola. She fell ill two weeks after her first birthday. At the time, the government had quarantined the West Point slum where she lived. Princess's aunt, Beatrice Johnson, who cared for Angie, tried to find help. But the only clinic in West Point had run out of medicine.

"We begged security to allow the baby to be taken to a hospital outside of the quarantine, but they refused for three days," Michael John Bull, director of British charity Street Child told The Independent. "They attributed her sickness to Ebola."

'Significant declines in most public health measures'

The little girl perished in a church; her mother did not find out about her death for a week because she was trapped -- quarantined behind barbed wire.

"Sometimes I still feel she is in my arms," she told The Independent. "I thought my baby would be my consolation for all my suffering. She used to bring me joy and hope."

The virus is sapping available medical services faster than they can be upgraded or replaced. In many instances, for example, it takes days for ambulances to remove the sick from slums and other neighborhoods, because there simply are not enough of them.

As for Liberia, the Post reported that, in recent years, the country had made some progress in slowing its infant mortality rate. But now, experts warn that the Ebola virus "has caused significant declines in most public health measures," the paper said.

Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com






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