“A New Health Crisis in Liberia”
The Washington Post, September 21, 2014, p.A1
“While the terrifying spread of Ebola has captured the world’s attention, it also has produced a lesser-known crisis: the near-collapse of the already fragile health-care system here, a development that may be as dangerous — for now — as the virus for the average Liberian. 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 services do exist, Ebola has complicated the effort to provide them by stoking fear among health-care workers, who sometimes turn away sick people or women in labor if they can’t determine whether the patient is infected. And some people, health-care workers said, will not seek care, fearful that they will become infected with Ebola at a clinic or hospital. … When compared with 2013, the period of May to August 2014 saw a sharp drop in the percentage of infants delivered by a skilled birth attendant (52 percent to 38 percent); the percentage of women who received prenatal care within six weeks of confirming their pregnancies (41 percent to 25 percent) and women who receive treatment for malaria (47.8 percent to 29.4 percent), among other measures.”
Quickie Analysis: The secondary and tertiary effects of the Ebola outbreak will kill for years after the outbreak ends.