The official death toll from Ebola in Liberia is now around 1,500 people. However, the FT thinks that even these grim figures are “certainly a significant underestimate”, since the condition “is spreading outside the medical surveillance systems that have been put in place”.
The FT says “this is the most severe crisis to have hit Liberia and Sierra Leone since the civil wars in both countries drew to an end just over a decade ago”. As a result, “the world should be standing with the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and helping their governments to establish the requisite controls to staunch the spread of Ebola”.
Although “some of the reactions have been tinged with hysteria”, The Washington Post warns, “either the world gets this right or the outbreak will spread”. This means “more personnel, material, money and speed than has been applied in the past six months”.
Sadly, “there won’t be any magic bullet in a new drug or vaccine to save the day”. Instead, “the only way Ebola can be stopped is by control measures that are labour and resource intensive: finding and isolating those infected”.
In the long run, Liberia needs better government, argues Robtel Neajai Pailey in The Guardian. “Contrary to what has been reported, Liberia is not poor; it is poorly managed.”
In particular, “Liberia must strengthen its health-care infrastructure by increasing the percentage of the national budget allotted to health”.
The Daily Telegraph thinks the crisis shows the worth of aid workers, such as William Pooley, who is being treated in the UK after being infected with the virus. Aid workers “voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way, motivated not by the desire to be well known, but by selfless sacrifice”.
Sadly, “last year was the most dangerous on record for humanitarian workers, with 155 killed, 171 seriously wounded and 134 kidnapped”.