The Current

Hard hit by Ebola, Liberia's health and economic systems struggle to survive

The stories are heartbreaking. The numbers are record-breaking. The death toll from Ebola passed the 3000 mark this weekend. Mixed with the urgency and the grief is the bottom line, as the disease simultaneously attacks the economics of Western Africa. Today, we concentrate on Liberia, the hardest of the hard hit....
The stories are heartbreaking. The numbers are record-breaking. The death toll from Ebola passed the 3000 mark this weekend. Mixed with the urgency and the grief is the bottom line, as the disease simultaneously attacks the economics of Western Africa. Today, we concentrate on Liberia, the hardest of the hard hit.

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Liberia, the hardest-hit nation, has seen 3,000 cases of Ebola. Health workers have been turning people away from treatment centres in Monrovia due to chronic shortages of beds and staff. (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)


Special Report: Liberia's newest, largest treatment clinic already at capacity -- Adrienne Arsenault, Stephanie Jenzer, CBC News


Africa's Ebola crisis is so severe, the International Monetary Fund has fast-tracked more than $130 million to help fight the epidemic. The World Bank is doubling its contribution to $400 million to address the emergency as well as longer-term needs. The World Health Organization believes more than 3,000 West Africans have died from the disease and public-health systems are near collapse.

Liberia is the hardest-hit country; half the people who have died were Liberian. On Friday, the WHO said 150 people died in the country in just two days. Even Liberia's chief medical officer is affected: She has placed herself under quarantine as a precaution after her office assistant died of Ebola.

Geoffrey York is the Africa correspondent for The Globe and Mail. He has been in Liberia since last week covering the surge in the Ebola outbreak. He joined us from Monrovia.

Dr. Roseda Marshall is from Liberia but worked as a pediatrician in Baltimore for many years. She retired and returned to Liberia and took up work again when she realized how badly the country needed health workers. She's now chair of pediatrics at the University of Liberia's A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine. She's also President of the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons. She's been back in Baltimore for a few months and plans to return to Liberia next month.

It's not only the health system that's under strain... as we heard last week on the show, the economy has ground to a halt as well. Markets sit empty. Schools and businesses are closed. How to fix the health system in a country under crushing financial strain is one of the challenges facing Amara Konneh. He is Liberia's Finance Minister. He was in the capital, Monrovia.


CBC's Adrienne Arsenault is on the ground in Liberia. Tune in to CBC News on television, radio and online or follow her on Twitter @adriearsenault for her ongoing coverage of the Ebola outbreak.


This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Sujata Berry.

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