Liberian Ebola aid workers demand hazard pay
Liberian aid workers have staged a protest rally in the capital city to demand promised hazard benefits over the deadly Ebola epidemic in the African country.
On Wednesday, the protesters stormed the building of the Health Ministry in Monrovia, demanding hazard pay that they said they have not received since May 9, when Liberia was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The angry aid workers also cut off power supply to the compound.
The government has paid hazard benefits to “99 percent” of people who worked in the Ebola treatment units in the country in addition to their regular salaries, said Liberia’s Health Minister Bernice Dahn.
Meanwhile, the country has announced the return of the deadly virus following the death of a teenage boy.
Cestus Tarpeh, a Liberian health official, said Wednesday that the 17-year-old victim who died of the Ebola fever had spread the virus to at least two more people, according to AFP.
The picture dated January 5, 2015 shows Red Cross workers, wearing protective suits, carrying the body of a person during a burial for Ebola victims, in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. (© AFP)
Tarpeh said the infected pair had been in physical contact with the victim before his death in a village near the country’s international airport, southeast of Monrovia, on Sunday.
“Two more people have been confirmed positive. These people had contact with the boy. We are still waiting for more results of blood tests,” Tarpeh said.
Tarpeh also said that a herbalist who had treated the teenager had evaded the authorities and was on the run.
In its latest report on the epidemic, the WHO said that “One hundred and two contacts have been identified, although that number is expected to increase as investigations continue.”
“At this stage the origin of infection is not known. The case reportedly had no recent history of travel, contact with visitors from affected areas, or funeral attendance,” the UN health organization said.
The fatal disease has killed more than 4,800 people in Liberia since its outbreak began in December 2013.
Neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone are both still battling the virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 11,200 people in 18 months across West Africa.
Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces, or sweat. It can also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
The epidemic was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976 in an outbreak that killed 280 people.