WASHINGTON, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The US personnel fighting the country's Ebola endemic in Liberia are making progress against the outbreak, Ben Hemingway, the team leader for the aid agency USAID's Disaster Assistance Response in Liberia, said Thursday.
"The whole of government efforts that the US has brought has definitely been catalyzing, and not only bringing the hope, for improved efforts at breaking this chain of infection, and has really improved the momentum behind the international effort," Hemingway said during a press briefing at the Department of Defense.
Hemingway said that the team is in the process of putting together 17 Ebola treatment units, 65 community care centers and will build another two Ebola test laboratories. So far, two Ebola test laboratories and 56 safe burial teams are helping to facilitate access to safe burials around the country.
The US Army in Liberia also partnered with the Armed Forces of the West African country in an operation known as "Exercise United Shield" to construct more Ebola treatment centers, Operations United Assistance (OUA) Joint Force Commander Maj. Darryl Williams said Thursday during a briefing.
Williams, who is one of the leaders of the OUA's 4,000 troop operation in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, says that he has been in the country for 30 days along with hundreds of other troops who are fighting against the worse outbreak of the disease on record.
"This disease requires a team of teams: the Department of Defense team, Department of State team, CDC [Center for Disease Control], the UN, the nongovernmental organizations, peace corps. All those [organizations] together are providing the momentum," said Williams.
The current Ebola epidemic started in southern Guinea in February and later spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal, with several Ebola cases having been reported outside of West Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that 4,493 people have died from the current Ebola outbreak, and as of October 12, there have been 8,997 confirmed and probable cases of the disease in seven different countries.