The World Health Organization announced it could not help evacuate a doctor in Sierra Leone who had contracted the deadly Ebola virus. Ebola, which has been concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, has killed at least 2,400 people.
Now, the Associated Press reported, one of Sierra Leone’s prominent doctors, Dr. Olivet Buck, has been diagnosed with the disease and is attempting to coordinate an evacuation for treatment. President Ernest Bai Koroma’s office sent a request to WHO seeking help to fund the doctor’s evacuation to a hospital in Hamburg, Germany, “where they are in readiness to receiver her.”
After the seeing the request Saturday, WHO concluded it would not be able to aid the doctor but are hoping to coordinate other care for her within the country. “WHO is unable to organize evacuation of this doctor to [Germany] but is exploring all options on how to ensure best care,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said. “WHO will facilitate the best care in country for Dr. Buck, including access to experimental drugs.”
The request for Dr. Buck’s evacuation comes after three other doctors in Sierra Leone had already died in the country after contracting Ebola. Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor was being considered for treatment overseas when he died from the disease in July.
For now, no licensed treatment for the Ebola virus exists. Most patients receive experimental drugs and other unproven treatments, which have been met with mixed results. The disease has only aggravated the health worker shortage in West Africa.
According to the report, citing WHO statistics, 301 health workers had become infected with the disease in the worst hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as of last week. Of those who contracted the disease, nearly half have died.