THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Save the Children to step up ebola response

Save the Children announced on Friday that it is rapidly scaling up its response to the ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The announcement came as the death toll of the outbreak nears 1,000.

"This is the largest ebola outbreak the world has ever seen and the region is struggling to cope," Rob MacGillivray, the regional humanitarian director for Save the Children in Sierra Leone, said. "Before the crisis there was less than three doctors for every 100,000 people across both Sierra Leone and Liberia, so the health systems are now overwhelmed."

MacGillivray said that infected children face certain difficulties in receiving treatment.

"Parents are understandably frightened and stay away from medical centers through fear of coming into contact with the infection," MacGillivray said. "Pregnant mothers are giving birth at home rather than seeking skilled help and orphaned children are at risk of being ostracized from their communities at the most vulnerable time in their lives. Challenges remain in reaching families in rural communities who were struggling to access healthcare even before the outbreak."

The humanitarian director said that children with ebola require specialized treatment that is designed for their needs.

MacGillivray also said that residents need to trust the medical systems in their countries and report illnesses as soon as possible.