Monday, December 8, 2014

Africa Wins Again

(NYTimes) KERRY TOWN, Sierra Leone — On a freshly cleared hillside outside the capital, where the trees have been chopped down and replaced with acres of smooth gravel, the new Ebola treatment center seems to have everything. There are racks of clean pink scrubs and white latex boots, bathrooms that smell like Ajax, solar-powered lights, a pharmacy tent, even a thatch-roofed hut to relax in.
But one piece is missing: staff. The facility opened recently with a skeleton crew. Now, in an especially hard-hit area where people are dying every day because they cannot get into an Ebola clinic, 60 of the 80 beds at the Kerry Town Ebola clinic are not being used.
It is like this with a lot here: good intentions, bad planning. Aid officials in Sierra Leone say poor coordination among aid groups, government mismanagement and some glaring inefficiencies are costing countless lives.
Ambulances, for example, are being used to ferry blood samples, sometimes just one test tube at a time, while many patients die at home after waiting days for an ambulance to come.
Half of the patients in some front-line Ebola clinics do not even have Ebola, but their test results take so long that they end up lingering for days, taking beds from people whose lives hang in the balance and greatly increasing their own chances of catching the virus in such close quarters.
Even after patients recover, many treatment centers delay releasing them for more than a week until there are enough other survivors, sometimes dozens, to hold one huge goodbye ceremony for everyone — again, keeping desperately needed beds occupied. “I just wanted to get home and see my wife,” said Suliman Wafta, a recent Ebola survivor treated nearby. “But I had to wait eight extra days.”
The latest Ebola numbers are ominous. This past week, Sierra Leone reported almost 100 new cases in a single day, nearly double the number just 10 days before — and those are only the confirmed cases, which health experts say may be a third of the total. At this rate, the swelling roster of the gravely ill will far outstrip even the most optimistic projections for new hospital beds.
Many aid officials in Sierra Leone said they crave a more effective command structure. The government runs a national emergency center, but aid officials said that with scores of foreign experts, government delegations and private charities flocking here, coordination was still messy, with many gaps and overlaps. It is extremely difficult, they said, to get even the most basic information, including how many treatment centers exist.
There are also growing questions about corruption, with the government announcing recently that it had found 6,000 “ghost medical workers” on its payroll, even as real Ebola burial teams and front-line health officers say they have not been paid in weeks.

Nice to know that with thousands dying there, no one is in actually in charge, the government is still massively corrupt, the former colonial power is still inept, and the legacy of their hapless former charges continues to exacerbate the crisis and prolong it beyond any explanation other than widespread massive stupidity of biblical proportions.

In short, because this is Africa we're talking about. But don't worry, whipping Ebola there is the key to not seeing it here, which is apparently one reason why Klown Klain is bailing out totally by March 1st,  just about the time things there should totally go to hell. Nice work, Klowny.

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